If you have sex with someone and don’t tell them you’re HIV positive, you can go to jail. You’re only off the hook if you use a condom and have a low viral load, according to last month’s Canadian Supreme Court ruling.
HIV, the judges reasoned, continues to be a serious, life-threatening infection, so exposing others to even a slight risk of transmission without their knowledge should be punishable by law. Opponents fear this will further stigmatize those who are HIV-positive, and say these rules ignore the actual science – that the risk of transmission by those who use a condom or have an undetectable viral load is negligible.
But what about people who’ve been infected through non-disclosure – the victims the law’s supposed to protect?
Jessica Whitbread contracted HIV a decade ago from a boyfriend who’d been dishonest with her. A few years later, he was convicted of aggravated sexual assault for failing to disclose his HIV status to two other women. In this rerun, Jessica shares her story and tells us why she thinks non-disclosure shouldn’t be a crime.