UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Perspectives of HIV-positive and -negative people who use drugs regarding the criminalization of HIV non-disclosure in Canada: a qualitative study Ng, Cara; Chayama, Koharu L.; Krüsi, Andrea; Small, Will; Knight, Rod E.


Background: While previous research has identified how criminalization of HIV non-disclosure can have deleterious effects on those living with HIV, the perspectives of people who use drugs – a population disproportionately affected by HIV– should be more meaningfully considered in these discussions. Methods: Using constant comparative techniques, data from 60 interviews with men and women living with and without HIV and who use drugs in Vancouver were analyzed to explore their perceptions about Canada’s HIV non-disclosure legal framework. Results: Participants’ perspectives on the framework involved three themes: understandings of HIV risk; HIV-related stigma; and their own experiences with HIV. While several participants favored the punitive character of the legal framework, these arguments were premised on misinformed and stigmatized assumptions regarding HIV. Conclusions: The paper concludes by discussing the challenges and opportunities for resisting HIV stigma and misconceptions about HIV within the context of personal accounts that, at times, support criminalization of non-disclosure.

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