Justice ministers talk HIV non-disclosure in Vancouver

Supreme Court of Canada ruled that consent to sexual activity doesn’t count without

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is raising the issue of whether criminal charges are the right way to deal with HIV non-disclosure as she sits down with her provincial and territorial colleagues in Vancouver.

On World AIDS Day last year, Wilson-Raybould said she would examine how the criminal justice system deals with people who do not disclose their HIV status to sexual partners, which could include developing prosecutorial guidelines.

READ: B.C. man facing nine more aggravated sexual assault charges: Mission RCMP

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that consent to sexual activity can be discounted if the accused person did not disclose, or lied about, his or her HIV status.

That can lead to a charge of aggravated sexual assault, but advocates say the justice system is far behind the science on the level of risk.

Wilson-Raybould is expected to give her fellow justice ministers an update on the review and encourage them to consider what they could do to address what she calls the “over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure.”

Richard Elliott of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network says he is encouraged the issue has been put on the agenda as a problem that needs to be solved.

The Canadian Press