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.

Learn more:


Statement: A human rights–based approach to HIV self-testing

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Respect, Protect, Fulfill: Supporting the HIV Legal Network

Respect. Protect. Fulfill. You can help challenge wrongs, advance rights, and transform lives. Denied basic healthcare. Criminalized and vilified for love. Unfairly targeted by police. These abuses, and more, are too often the experience of people living with HIV and of communities affected by HIV. At the HIV Legal Network, our mission has always been … Read more

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Canada Must Take a Human Rights-Based Approach to HIV Self-Testing

On International Testing Week, more than 40 organizations from across Canada sign statement of support This statement can be attributed to the HIV Legal Network, HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario and the Canadian AIDS Society. Toronto, ON (November 23, 2023) – Today, more than 40 health and human rights organizations across the country have … Read more

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