HIV advocacy and human rights have become a big part of my life, thanks to my summer internship. Here are a few things I was involved in this summer, and a few things I am still involved with and exploring.
Prison Health Now
In late September, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network filed a lawsuit against the Canadian government about the lack of clean needles in prisons — which lead to horrifying health conditions, where the chances of contracting HIV and Hepatits C in prison are 10 and 30 times higher in prisons than outside. Prisoners often come from marginalized and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, and the high risk of contracting HIV and Hep C only stigmatize their conditions further. Besides the lawsuit, the Legal Network also produced a series of short video clips featuring prisoners’ stories about the devastating effects of not having clean needles. You can see the rest of the video clips, and learn more about the issues on the Prison Health Now website.
HIV non-disclosure ruling from the Supreme Court
Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada issued judgments on two cases regarding HIV status non-disclosure to sexual partners. With the judgments the Court had a chance to clarify its position on the issue since it first set the caselaw in 1998. The judgments carry some worrisome implications for people living with HIV, which I hope to write about later. In the meantime, if you’d like to know more about the cases and what the Court said, here is my recap of the background and the ruling, written for the McGill Journal of Law and Health website.