Canada: Criminalization of HIV transmission


Congratulations to Nino Mladenovic, a 2010 LL.M. graduate of our International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Programme whose Master’s thesis is now available as a printed book.  Nino is currently Human Rights Advisor at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights, a Research Association in Skopje, Macedonia.

THE LEGACY OF CUERRIER: 
ISSUES UNRESOLVED, QUESTIONS UNANSWERED

By Ninoslav Mladenovic
Thesis submitted for the degree of Master of Laws,
Graduate Department of the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, 2010

A large body of jurisprudence has developed in Canada criminalizing the conduct of HIV positive persons who transmit or expose others to the HIV infection in an equivocal attempt to be seen to be doing something about individuals who are perceived to be driving the HIV epidemic.    Convictions have been obtained for charges ranging from aggravated assault to, most recently, murder. The 1998 Cuerrier judgement, a landmark decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, left a number of issues unresolved. Given the ambiguities in the decision, this Thesis will address the unfortunate consequences resulting from the Cuerrier’s decision. In particular, I will argue that while criminalization of non-disclosure may seem logical to many, at the same time it carries a significant public health consequences. The conclusion I will attempt to reach is that criminalization is an inadequate strategy to prevent further HIV infection, its increased use in practice is misguided, and counterproductive to public health goals, thus alternatives to the routine criminalization of HIV transmission that may enhance the goals of public health should be considered.

The original thesis is now available through the National Library of Canada, online here
It is also available as a printed book, e.g., from Amazon and ABE.

Abstracts of theses by all past Programme graduates are available online here

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