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Criminal Law and Public Health Practice: Are the Canadian HIV Disclosure Laws an Effective HIV Prevention Strategy?

Authors
  • O’Byrne, Patrick1
  • 1 University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8M5, Canada , Ottawa (Canada)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Sexuality Research and Social Policy
Publisher
Springer US
Publication Date
Jun 11, 2011
Volume
9
Issue
1
Pages
70–79
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s13178-011-0053-2
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

Over the last few years, the number of people living with HIV who have been convicted for not disclosing their HIV status to sexual partners in Canada has been steadily increasing. Whilst these laws are criminal in nature, and not public health-based, it is important to examine their effect on public health HIV prevention efforts. To undertake such an analysis, the impact fraction model was used to structure and examine the extant literature about HIV transmission, HIV status awareness and HIV testing practices. The findings of this analysis indicate that although these laws might prevent HIV transmission in a few isolated cases, it is unlikely that they would influence overall population-level rates of HIV transmission. Some evidence even suggests that these laws could exacerbate HIV transmission.

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