HIV testing raises numerous human rights issues. When a test for HIV was first developed, there were calls for compulsory testing and quarantine of those testing positive. Ever since, political, technological and medical developments in testing for HIV and treating HIV infection have continued to raise serious legal and ethical questions.

Human rights law requires that HIV testing include:

  • informed consent;
  • pre- and post-test counselling; and
  • guaranteed confidentiality of test results.

These elements are crucial to the success of HIV testing as a public health measure to reduce HIV transmission and to provide care, treatment and support for people who test HIV-positive.

We work on numerous legal and human rights dimensions of HIV testing, including:

  • access to anonymous HIV testing;
  • HIV testing and immigration policy;
  • rapid HIV testing;
  • home testing for HIV and access to HIV testing outside health care settings;
  • testing within Aboriginal communities in Canada;
  • routine testing of women during pregnancy and testing of newborns;
  • testing of specific populations such as prisoners, sex workers, military personnel; and
  • forced testing in instances of occupational or non-occupational exposure to HIV.

A Moment of Breakthrough: Annual Report 2020-2021

Seizing the moment to push for concrete and lasting change.

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OPEN LETTER: Urgent appeal to increase access to GeneXpert SARS-CoV-2 tests in LMICs

The HIV Legal Network has signed this open letter to the president and CEO of Cepheid, urging the company to increase access to GeneXpert SARS-COV-2 tests in low- and middle-income countries.   Mr. Warren C. Kocmond President and Chief Operating Officer Cepheid 904 Caribbean Drive Sunnyvale, CA 94089 United States CC: Mr. Philippe Jacon, President, […]

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Our History, Our Future: Annual Report 2019-2020

Guided by the past and working toward the future as we challenge wrongs, advance rights, and transform lives.

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The Political is Personal: Annual Report 2018-2019

Highlights of our work in Canada and around the world from April 1, 2018, to March 31, 2019.

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Ontario HIV Coalition Submission re: Bill 68

Letter to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, attention Jocelyn McCauley, Clerk March 6, 2019 As organizations involved in the response to HIV in Ontario, we write to express our concerns with certain provisions in the recently introduced Bill 68 (Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019) – and specifically the provisions in Schedule 7 that […]

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PRESS RELEASE: The Missing Millions, the Government of Canada and HIV

As community organizations are closing, the federal government presides over the continued steady erosion of federal HIV funding, with $104 million in funds lost from the response.

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Funding the Fight: Federal Support Needed to End HIV as a Public Health Threat in Canada

Note: this brief was originally published in 2018 and has been updated with recent developments in 2020.  In recent years, the Government of Canada has renewed a commitment to ongoing dialogue and constructive engagement with civil society in the response to HIV, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (STBBIs). In […]

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Know Your Rights: A Guide for Child and Family Service Providers Serving People Living with HIV

This guide was written for child and family service providers who provide support and assistance to people living with or affected by HIV.

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Know Your Rights

This series of 8 brochures (now available in 7 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Spanish) addresses the privacy rights and disclosure obligations of people living with HIV in a variety of day-to-day contexts.

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Women and HIV – “Women and HIV Testing”

This is one in a series of four info sheets on the human rights of women living with or vulnerable to HIV in Canada.

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Forced HIV Testing: Questions and Answers

Many Canadian provinces have passed legislation that authorizes testing someone for HIV without his or her consent. This document provides information about occupational exposure to HIV, and the legal and human rights concerns raised by forced HIV testing.

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Undue Force: An Overview of Provincial Legislation on Forced Testing for HIV

This booklet looks at existing provincial legislation in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba allowing forced testing for blood-borne diseases such as HIV. We conclude with a commentary on why forced testing is unjustified and unnecessary, and what measures are really needed to deal with workplace exposure to HIV.

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HIV Testing

This is a series of 12 info sheets on HIV testing in Canada. Evolution of HIV testing policy and technology in Canada Shifting HIV testing policies Consent to HIV testing Counselling Anonymous HIV testing Confidentiality Access to HIV testing HIV testing and pregnancy Rapid HIV testing Home HIV testing Mandatory and compulsory testing for HIV […]

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