The Edwin Bernard Interview

Published 04, Jun, 2012
Author // Bob Leahy - Publisher

Filmed in Toronto last week, Bob Leahy in a frank discussion with famed HIV criminalisation expert Edwin Bernard on why the law isn’t working, what’s being done about it and how it impacts us all.

The Edwin Bernard Interview

Anyone who takes an interest in HIV disclosure issues and the law, wherever they are around the world, will likely know the name Edwin Bernard. The world’s leading expert on criminalisation – and I should make it clear, a strong advocate against it – Edwin is known for his comprehensive knowledge of disclosure issues around the globe. 

Edwin's bio is an impressive one and reads as follows: Edwin J Bernard is the co-ordinator of the HIV Justice Network, an international network of advocates working to end the inappropriate criminalisation of HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission, and which recently co-ordinated the Oslo Declaration on HIV Criminalisation. Edwin has written extensively on the issue of HIV criminalisation, working with international organisations such as GNP+ (on the Global Criminalisation Scan which documents laws, judicial practices and case studies), and UNAIDS (on a project that aims to ensure that the application, if any, of criminal law to HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission is appropriately circumscribed by the latest and most relevant scientific evidence and legal principles so as to guarantee justice and protection of public health) as well as maintaining a blog (Criminal HIV Transmission) documenting and analysing criminal law developments in this area and speaking internationally on the topic

We’ve long wanted to talk to Edwin, who was born in England but now lives in Gemany but has a heavy schedule travelling around the world.  But thanks to intermediary Glen Betteridge, long active in Canadian legal circles himself, we managed to book him while he was passing through Toronto in late May.

I think you’ll agree Edwin is an engaging and impassioned speaker. We had planned to produce a fifteen-minute interview, but he provided us with far more good talk than that, all important and all so spot-on informative that we’ve decided to preserve almost the whole conversation. So thanks, Edwin, for our first long-form interview we’ve done.  Believe me, it’s essential viewing for anyone interested  in HIV disclosure and the law, whatever country you are from.

In the interview, Edwin talks about . .

  • What’s wrong with imprisoning people for HIV non-disclosure.
  • Why Canada has so many prosecutions compared to other countries.
  • The general public’s support for criminalisation  - and why so many people living with HIV agree with them.
  • Why our community’s conversations about HIV disclosure don’t talk about ethics.
  • Why is developing  prosecutorial  guidelines a winning strategy.
  • How have undetectable viral load and PrEP complicated things . .  and much more.

Enjoy the video – and let us know what you think

Videography by Guy Mcloughlin.

Special thanks to Glenn Betteridge, John McCullagh

About the Author

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Bob Leahy - Publisher

Award-winning blogger Bob Leahy first made his social media mark a decade ago on LiveJournal.com where there are still to this day almost 3,000 entries of his available to be read. He was a featured blogger on Ontario’s HIVStigma.com campaign, along with PositiveLite.com founder Brian Finch. He joined PositiveLite.com at its inception in 2009 and became it's Editor a year later.

Born in the UK, Bob’s background is in corporate banking, which he gladly left in 1994, after being diagnosed with HIV the previous year.  He has chaired the board of PARN (Peterborough AIDS Resource Network) and has been an executive board member of both the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) and the Canadian AIDS Society (CAS).  He was inducted in to the Ontario AIDS Network’s Honour Roll in 2005.  Bob is currently a member of Ontario’s GMSH (Gay Men’s Sexual Health Alliance). He also writes for TheBody.com.

In 2012, Bob was honoured with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal for his work and commitment to HIV/AIDS in Canada.

Bob continues to write for this site while in the Positivelite.Com editor’s seat, with a particular interest  in HIV prevention, theatre and the arts in general. He is accredited media for a number of Toronto theatres. He lives in Warkworth, Ontario with his partner of thirty-two years and three dogs.