Research Roundtable on Criminalization of HIV and Women in BC: Research Priority-Setting Report Back

On October 23, 2015, the Gender & Sexual Health Initiative (of the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS), Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, and Positive Women’s Network (PWN) on behalf of the Women, HIV and the Law Project held a one-day Research Roundtable for a small group of leading experts, including women living with HIV (WLWH), academics, AIDS support organizations (ASOs), clinicians, and legal and policy experts, to discuss the impact of the criminalization of HIV on women, and set research and advocacy priorities to inform policy and practice. A special thanks to the experts and planning committee collaborators: International Community of Women living with HIV/AIDS (ICW), BC Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA), Pacific AIDS Network (PAN), and BC Women’s Hospital/ Oak Tree Clinic.

Summary of Roundtable

Following welcome to the traditional territories by Elder Aleut, Gitxsan Nation, and opening by GSHI director’s Dr. Kate Shannon, the meeting co-chairs (Dr. Andrea Krüsi, Florence Ranville, Alison Symington) provided an overview of the current research on gendered impacts of criminalization of HIV and women globally.

In the morning, there were two engaging panels: Panel 1 offered critical and diverse perspectives from community of WLWH (Claudette Cardinal, ICW), legal (Micheal Vonn, BCCLA) to clinical/ HIV care provider (Dr. Neora Pick, Oak Tree Clinic/ BC Women’s) on the current issues on criminalization of HIV and women; Panel 2 discussed current research, evidence gaps and challenges – including updates from four teams of academic and community researchers (SHAWNA Project, Canadian Aboriginal AIDS Network, CHIWOS/ WATCH studies, and PAN Stigma Index project) working on these critical issues in BC. (Presentations are available on the BCCFE website.)

In the afternoon, Andrea Langlois of the Pacific AIDS Network and CIHR CBR Collaborative Centre (a program of REACH) led the priority setting using concept mapping to brainstorm, organize ideas, make connections and determine priorities by all.

Research & Advocacy Priorities For Community: Read full summary

  1. Advocacy priority – Yearly day of action to end violence against women living with HIV. E.g. march, day with Chief and Council, day with police
  2. Education priority – culturally relevant, accessible and peer-driven education and working to expand the reach of materials that exist. Use art, drama and music.
  3. Intersectionality – Ensure that all research, education and advocacy activities are informed through the lens of needing to examine needs and priorities of sub-populations.

Research & Advocacy Priorities for Law Reform: Read full summary

  1. Research on how criminalization of HIV non-disclosure exacerbates gender-based violence.
  2. Research on the impact of the criminalization of HIV on peoples engagement in HIV testing, care, treatment, and other public health goals.
  3. Research on court processes, including assessment of expert testimony, and what guides prosecutorial discretion and priorities, in relation to HIV non-disclosure.

Research & Advocacy Priorities for HIV Care Providers: Read full summary

  1. Research to develop effective models of training for healthcare and social providers on criminalization and HIV
  2. Research on the interface between criminalization of HIV non-disclosure and intersecting stigmas, and how it is connected with the ‘duty to report’, and how criminalization impacts different populations.
  3. Assess knowledge, attitudes/perceptions and practices and critical lens/commitment to social justice and human rights (KAP) of health and social service providers regarding HIV and criminalization.

* Commitment to GIPA/ MIPA principles was a core guidance across all

More Links:

View the Social Media Roundup of #WomenHIVLaw from the Research Roundtable on Criminalization of HIV and Women in BC

NEW: Key evidence-based resources on criminalization of HIV and women

As part of the roundtable and two-day event on Gender-Based Violence and HIV, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network held a public screening of their new documentary film. You can watch the film here: Consent: HIV Non-Disclosure and Sexual Assault Law’