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Save the Date:

Thursday, September 15, 2:45 PM

H-535/635, Concordia University
The Movement to End HIV Criminalization
Panel Abstract
HIV criminalization describes the unjust application of the criminal law to people living with HIV
based on their HIV status either via HIV-specific criminal statutes, or by applying general criminal
laws exclusively or disproportionately against people with HIV.* Human rights advocates and
organizations have tracked hundreds of cases worldwide, identifying the relationship between systemic
forms of discrimination and HIV criminalization.
This panel discussion explores the social justice implications of HIV criminalization. It will conclude
with the world premiere of the 2016 documentary film, HIV Is Not A Crime.
Edwin Bernard, Global Co-ordinator, HIV Justice Network
The Global Picture: Surveying the State of HIV Criminalisation
This presentation will introduce audience members to HIV criminalisation from a global perspective, and why it is
problematic for public health as well as human rights. It will highlight countries that have HIV-specific criminal
statutes, as well as jurisdictions, such as Canada, which, in spite of not having HIV-specific criminal laws on the
books, have vigorously prosecuted people living with HIV.

World Premiere Documentary Film Screening:

HIV Justice WorldwideWhat is HIV Criminalisation,

Save the Date:

Thursday, September 15, 2:45 PM
H-535/635, Concordia University
Alex McClelland, Concordia University
Criminal Charges for HIV Non-disclosure, Transmission and/or Exposure: Impacts on the Lives
of People Living with HIV
This presentation will elaborate some initial findings from an ongoing research project that is examining the lived
experiences of people who have been criminally charged in Canada in relation to HIV non-disclosure, transmission
and/or exposure. Canada is well-known as a country with high rates of criminalization towards people living with
HIV. Through a series of qualitative interviews this project seeks to understand the material outcomes for HIVpositive people who live their lives in a negative relation to the law due to being institutionally marked as a
criminal and a risk to public safety through the process of criminalizing HIV non-disclosure, transmission and/or

Laurel Sprague, Research Fellow in HIV, Gender, and Justice, HIV Justice Network
Your Sentence is Not My Freedom: Feminism, HIV Criminalization and Systems of Stigma
HIV criminalisation takes different form in different legal contexts, yet always arises from social hierarchies, and
related stigmatising attitudes, based on gender, sexual orientation, class, and other forms of marginalized minority
status. Examining the Canadian Context, in which prosecutions for HIV non-disclosure have relied primarily on the
use of sexual assault laws, provides important insights into the ways in which HIV-related stigma creates an
interlocking web of discrimination for people living with and most vulnerable to HIV. This presentation explores
ways in which gender is used both to justify HIV criminalisation and to prosecute people who are seen to violate
gendered norms of behaviour, then discusses ways in which Canadian feminists have led the critical response to the
use of sexual assault laws in HIV non-disclosure prosecutions.

Andrew Spieldenner, Hofstra University

The Cost of Acceptable Losses: Exploring Intersectionality, Meaningful Involvement of People
with HIV, and HIV Criminalization
Intersectionality is a vital part of engaging in social justice coalition work. In HIV criminalization efforts,
intersectionality means understanding how place, position and power get enacted and acted on. I will explore how
intersectionality functions in the lives of PLHIV, and in particular how the meaningful involvement of people with
HIV requires a complex engagement with intersectionality. Organizing around HIV criminalization requires an
intersectional understanding rooted in the notion that none of us are acceptable losses. I will utilize two case studies
in the American context: California and Colorado.

Introduced by Liz Lacharpagne, COCQ-SIDA and Martin French, Concordia University