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“Criminalization Creep”: A Brief Discussion of the Criminalization of HIV/AIDS Non-disclosure in Canada

  • Erin Dej (a1) and Jennifer M. Kilty (a2)
Abstract

This research note begins by situating some of the major areas of inquiry within social-science research on the criminalization of HIV/AIDS non-disclosure. The evolution of the use of this criminal justice measure in the attempt to regulate HIV/AIDS transmission illustrates what has been termed “criminalization creep,” whereby steadily increasing numbers of people are charged with increasingly severe crimes. We outline some of the key and precedent-setting cases in Canadian law in order to explore the problematic of criminalization and suggest avenues for future research on this subject.

Ce bref essai commence par situer certains des plus importants domaines d'enquête au sein de la recherche en sciences sociales sur la criminalisation de la non-divulgation de la séropositivité à l'égard du VIH/sida. L'évolution du recours à cette mesure de justice pénale afin d'essayer de réglementer la transmission du VIH/sida illustre ce qu'Elliott a appelé criminalization creep (le glissement de la criminalisation), alors que l'on constate une augmentation constante du nombre de personnes accusées de crimes de plus en plus graves. Nous décrivons brièvement certains cas importants qui ont créé des précédents dans le droit canadien, afin d'explorer la problématique de la criminalisation et de suggérer des possibilités pour les futures recherches à ce sujet.

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9 Galletly and Pinkerton, ibid.; Kinsman, G., “Responsibility as a Strategy of Governance: Regulating People Living with AIDS and Lesbian and Gay Men in Ontario,” Economy and Society 25, 3 (1996), 393.

10 Adam et al., “Effects of the Criminalization of HIV Transmission in Cuerrier”; Elliott, R., “Criminal Law and HIV/AIDS: Update V,” Canadian HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review 6, 1/2 (2001), 19.

11 Weait, Intimacy and Responsibility.

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15 Goffman, E., Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1963); Patton, C., Inventing AIDS (New York: Routledge, 1990).

16 Public Health Agency of Canada, HIV and AIDS in Canada (Ottawa: Ministry of Health, 2010), 12.

17 Simoni, J.M., Demas, P., Mason, H.R.C., Drossman, J.A., and Davis, M.L., “HIV Disclosure among Women of African Descent: Associations with Coping, Social Support, and Psychological Adaptation,” AIDS and Behavior 4, 2 (2000), 147.

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19 Public Health Agency of Canada, HIV and Aids in Canada, 34.

20 Ibid., 6.

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22 Elliott, ibid.

23 Awofeso, N., “Legal Prison Tattooing Centers: Viable Health Policy Initiative?Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 16, 3 (2010), 240.

24 Persson and Newman, “Making Monsters.”

25 Mar, L., Legal Network News (Toronto: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, 2007), 8.

26 Adam et al., “Effects of the Criminalization of HIV Transmission in Cuerrier”; Dodds, C., Bourne, A., and Weait, M., “Responses to Criminal Prosecutions for HIV Transmission among Gay Men with HIV in England and Wales,” Reproductive Health Matters 17, 34 (2009), 135.

27 Patton, Inventing AIDS.

28 Mykhalovskiy, Eric and Betteridge, Glenn, “Who? What? Where? When? And with What Consequences? An Analysis of Criminal Cases of HIV Non-disclosure in Canada,” Canadian Journal of Law and Society 27, 1 (2012).

29 Criminal Law and HIV Non-disclosure in Canada (Toronto: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, 2011).

30 Grant, “Boundaries of the Criminal Law”; Mykhalovskiy et al., HIV Non-disclosure and the Criminal Law.

31 For an in-depth legal analysis of the evidentiary differences that come from exposure or transmission cases see Grant, ibid.

32 R v Cuerrier (1995), 26 WCB (2d) 378.

33 R v Cuerrier, [1996] BCJ No 2229 (QL), 83 BCAC 295, 136 WAC 295, 141 DLR (4th) 503, 111 CCC (3d) 261, 3 CR (5th) 330.

34 R v Cuerrier, [1998] 2 SCR 371.

35 AIDS Saskatoon, HIV Disclosure and the Law: A Community Workshop (Saskatoon: Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, 2010).

36 Mykhalovskiy et al., HIV Non-disclosure and the Criminal Law.

37 R v Edwards, [2001] NSJ No 221, 2001 NSSC 80, 194 NSR (2d) 107, 50 WCB (2d) 255; R v Charron, Cour du Québec, District de Longueuil, Chambre criminelle, 706-01-010423-024, 1 mai 2008, as cited in Claivaz-Loranger, Stephanie, “Panel—Criminalization of HIV Non-disclosure: New Developments and Community Responses,” HIV/AIDS Policy and Law Review 15, 1 (2010), 74.

38 R v Aziga (4 April 2009), Hamilton CR-08-1735, as cited in Claivaz-Loranger, ibid.

39 R v JT, 2008 BCCA 463; Vittinghoff, E., Douglas, J., Judson, F., McKirnan, D., MacQueen, K., and Buchbinder, S.P., “Per-Contact Risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus Transmission between Male Sexual Partners,” American Journal of Epidemiology 150, 3 (1999), 306.

40 JT, ibid. at paras 18–20.

41 R v Wright, [2009] BCCA 514 at paras 39–40; see also Mykhalovskiy et al., HIV Non-disclosure and the Criminal Law.

42 R v Mabior, [2010] MJ No 308, 2010 MBCA 93; [2008] MBQB 201, 230 Man R (2d) 184.

43 Cuerrier at para 129.

44 R v Nduwayo, [2010] BCJ No 1787, 2010 BCSC 1277; R v Walkem, [2007] OJ No 186, 73 WCB (2d) 145; Edwards [2001].

45 Grant, “Rethinking Risk.”

46 Mabior, [2010] at para 127.

47 R v DC, [2010] QJ No 13599, 2010 QCCA 2289.

48 R v Mabior, [2010] SCCA No 492; R v DC, [2011] SCCA No 137.

49 Grant, “Rethinking Risk.”

50 Lazzarini et al., “Evaluating the Impact of Criminal Laws on HIV Risk Behavior”; Ruby, Rebecca, “Apprehending the Weapon Within: The Case of Criminalizing the Intentional Transmission of HIV,” American Criminal Law Review 36 (1999), 313.

51 Adam and Sears, “Negotiating Sexual Relationships after Testing HIV-Positive”; Mykhalovskiy et al., HIV Non-disclosure and the Criminal Law, Adam et al., “Effects of the Criminalization of HIV Transmission in Cuerrier.”

52 Patton, Inventing AIDS.

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56 Jewkes, R.K., Dunkle, K., Nduna, M., and Shai, N., “Intimate Partner Violence, Relationship Power Inequity, and Incidence of HIV Infection in Young Women in South Africa: A Cohort Study,” The Lancet 376, 9734 (2010), 41; Peltzer, K., Mzolo, T., Mbelle, N., Tsoai, L., Lewa, N., and Ncitakalo, N., “Dual Protection, Contraceptive Use, HIV Status and Risk Among a National Sample of South African Women,” Gender and Behaviour 8, 1 (2010), 2833.

57 Garcia-Moreno, C. and Watts, C., “Violence against Women: Its Importance for HIV/AIDS,” AIDS 14, suppl. 3 (2000), S253; Gielen, A.C., McDonnell, K.A., Burke, J.G., and O'Campo, P., “Women's Lives after an HIV-Positive Diagnosis: Disclosure and Violence,” Maternal and Child Health Journal 4, 2 (2000), 111.

58 Amaro, Hortensia, “Love, Sex, and Power: Considering Women's Realities in HIV Prevention,” American Psychologist 50, 6 (1995), 437.

60 Campbell, “Male Gender Roles and Sexuality.”

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