Women’s Rights


Women and girls account for a steadily growing proportion of the world’s HIV cases, both in Canada and internationally. Not enough has been done to address the poverty, subordination, violence and human rights abuses that drive the epidemic among women and compound its impact upon them.

We research and analyze the role that the law plays in perpetuating women’s poverty, lack of access to health care and social services, lack of rights awareness, exposure to stigma and discrimination and vulnerability to violence.

We’re also collaborating with other organizations, including women’s groups, to promote laws and policies that advance women’s broader economic and social equality. The empowerment of women and girls is key to reducing vulnerability to HIV infection, ensuring equitable access to care and treatment and reducing the disproportionate impact of the epidemic.

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A gender-centred dialogue on Alternative Justice Responses to HIV non-disclosure criminalization

On June 20th, 2022, the HIV Legal Network, in collaboration with Communities, Alliances & Networks and the Women & HIV/AIDS Initiative, hosted a roundtable about alternative justice responses to the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada.

Special Considerations for Advising Sexual Assault Complainants Living with HIV

This paper is devoted to issues faced by a group of individuals with a unique experience: sexual assault complainants living with HIV who could potentially be transformed from complainants to accused persons. In particular, this paper discusses some of the factors that arise in these situations and aims to provide some guidance on the advice … Read more

The Carceral Web: Overview of laws affecting migrant sex workers

Butterfly (Asian and Migrant Sex Workers Support Network) and the HIV Legal Network recognize sex work is work and respect the agency of sex workers and migrants. We also recognize the harms caused by criminalization, policing, and laws and policies that discriminate against migrant sex workers. We fight for the dignity, rights, and justice of … Read more

Rights Within Reach: Strategic Plan 2022-2027

The HIV Legal Network promotes the human rights of people living with HIV or AIDS and other populations disproportionately affected by HIV and criminalization, in Canada and internationally. In 2021, we undertook a planning process that would shape the strategic goals and priorities for the organization’s next five years (2022-2027). To do this, we sought … Read more

Rights Within Reach: Strategic Plan 2022-2027, Executive Summary

In 2021, the HIV Legal Network undertook a planning process that would shape the strategic goals and priorities for the organization’s next five years (2022-2027). To do this, we sought the input of a broad range of stakeholders, from partner organizations to people living with and affected by HIV and criminalization, to staff. All identified … Read more

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TOWN OF NEWMARKET TARGETS AND SHUTS DOWN ASIAN MASSAGE BUSINESSES Groups calling on municipality to end the injustice and repeal new, racist by-law For immediate release May 5, 2022 – Toronto – A group of more than 50 allied organizations — as well as community members, activists, academics, and others — who are committed to human … Read more


WORLD AIDS DAY 2021: FORTY YEARS OF HIV, FORTY YEARS OF PROGRESS The following can be attributed to the HIV Legal Network.   November 30, 2021 – Toronto – Tomorrow is World AIDS Day — a day to reflect on the current state of HIV and AIDS in the world, where we started, and how … Read more

STATEMENT: Law enforcement “protections” harm sex workers

Rather than helping, sex workers’ human rights are being systemically violated by those meant to protect them   The following statement is issued by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (“Legal Network”). Comments can be attributed to Sandra Ka Hon Chu, Director of Research and Advocacy, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.   April 10, 2019 — In … Read more

UN Experts Make Historic Recommendations to Canada: End unjust HIV criminalization, repeal law restricting supervised consumption services, and implement needle and syringe programmes in prison

GENEVA, November 18, 2016 — The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women issued its Concluding Observations today following its review of Canada’s compliance with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. This is the first time the Committee reviewed women’s rights in Canada since 2008.

Grans and Gays Confronting HIV: Human Rights Groups Honour Activists on World Aids Day

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