The HIV Disclosure Project addresses the complexities of disclosing one's HIV status to potential sex partners through workshops based on role play and theatre. The aim is to provide safe spaces for people to meet, identify barriers to disclosure, while keeping the .goal on the need to raise pubic awareness of the risks involved in disclosure - risks which are created by stigma and lack of basic information about HIV.
The HIV Disclosure Project has been involved in workshops across Canada and in the United States to continue the discussion of disclosure to potential sex partners and in the process to enlighten and educate the general public and allies about disclosure complexities.
One element of complexity is the current use of the criminal law against people living with HIV for not disclosing their HIV status before having sex, both in Canada and the United States. Through our project we ask the public to receive new information relating to HIV risk of transmission, get informed and in the process eliminate stigma.
Knowing the facts reduces stigma and fear, fear which too often leads to criminalization. Knowing the facts is in fact part of the prevention of transmission of HIV.
In honour of World AIDS Day 2014, we asked three key community representatives to address our concerns in the form of short videos.
Barb Cardell, Board Chair of Positive Women's Network - USA, speaks about, the need for HIV testing, access to essential care and shared responsibility for ones’ health. Cardell discusses how stigma and criminalization remain a driving force within the HIV epidemic. Cardell encourages the public to examine real risks of transmission, the need to stop criminalizing people living with HIV and in turn show passion for people living with HIV as a means to end the HIV epidemic.
For more information about Positive Women's Network - USA and their involvement in criminalization, economic justice, prevention justice, reproductive justice, violence against women and women centered care visit their website.
Dr. Julio Montaner from the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS speaks about the scientific evidence around HIV transmission in relation to one’s viral load. Montaner discusses the dramatic reduction of the risk of transmitting HIV to a sex partner while having an undetectable viral load. He emphasizes the importance of all levels including legislators, policy makers, service organizations and the community of people living with HIV to work in collaboration to create an enabling environment which will allow us to end the HIV epidemic.
For more information on Dr Montaner's leadership role and achievements in HIV/AIDS and the 90-90-90 strategy to combat HIV/AIDS visit the British Columbia Center for Excellence in HIV/AIDS website.
Cécile Kazatchkine from the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network speaks about the need to put an end to the current overly broad use of the criminal law in cases of HIV non-disclosure. It is a source of injustice and it undermines public health. Kazatchkine denounces an application of the law which is too often at odds with the science related to HIV and its transmission.
Please refer to the following links provided by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network website for further information on HIV non-disclosure and the criminal law (info sheets) and to access the Canadian Consensus Statement on HIV and its transmission in the context of the criminal law, a statement endorsed by more than 75 Canadian scientists and medical experts.
The message the HIV Disclosure Project wishes to convey through these videos is this: the science has changed, know the facts, reduce stigma and stop criminalization of HIV.
The HIV Disclosure Project