9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Rising again to the challenge: Lessons from the HIV response for hepatitis C prevention and treatment
Jeff Potts, Canadian AIDS Society
Cheryl Reitz, HepCBC
Tahir Amin, I-MAK (Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge)
Zoë Dodd, South Riverdale Community Health Centre (Toronto)
Globally and in Canada, there is growing attention to the urgent challenges of preventing and treating hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The majority of people with HCV live in low-and middle-income countries, with scarce access to treatment; yet even in high-income countries, barriers to access remain significant, including for people who use drugs, the most heavily affected population. Meanwhile, against a backdrop of waning or wavering support for sustaining and scaling up the HIV response, governments are also demanding “integration” of HCV and other related health concerns with the response to HIV – a big challenge for our sector.
In this session, panellists will explore the barriers hindering HCV prevention and treatment, domestically and internationally, and what must be done to overcome them as affected communities and community-based organizations mobilize in response. This session will explore lessons learned and strategies that can be adapted from the HIV response, whether it’s adapting front-line programs in AIDS service organizations, scaling-up harm reduction services, overcoming patent and pricing barriers on much-needed medicines, expanding coverage and/or community organizing to access under provincial health insurance plans.
10:30 a.m. — 11:00 a.m.
11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
HIV criminalization: Emerging strategies and alliances to combat unjust prosecutions
Mark Tyndall, BC Centre for Disease Control
Alison Symington, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Cécile Kazatchkine, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
Lenore Lukasik-Foss, Sexual Assault Centre Hamilton and Area
In this workshop, participants will learn about two new strategies being advanced in Canada to resist the overly broad, unjust criminalization of HIV non-disclosure from different angles. First, we will discuss the role of scientists and health professionals in informing and influencing legal practice and court decisions. In particular, we will present the Canadian consensus statement on HIV and its transmission in the context of the criminal law, endorsed by more than 75 HIV scientists.
Secondly, we will discuss an underlying “justification” for the prosecution of alleged HIV non-disclosure in Canada; namely, the supposed imperative to protect sexual autonomy and dignity. Following the premiere screening of the Legal Network’s new documentary “Consent: HIV non-disclosure and sexual assault law,” we will discuss why HIV non-disclosure has been prosecuted as sexual assault and how, together with feminist scholars and those working to end violence against women, we can challenge this problematic legal framing.
12:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
LUNCH AND AGM
2:30 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
2:45 p.m. – 4:15 p.m.
Better health through better drug policy
Luciana Pol, Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales
Donald MacPherson, Canadian Drug Policy Coalition
Don Baker, Alberta Addicts Who Educate and Advocate Responsibly
Mikhail Golichenko, Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
There is growing global awareness that prohibition- and punishment-based drug policies have failed and are harmful, from both a human rights and a public health perspective. Worldwide, countries are now debating the directions of global drug policy in the lead-up to the special session on drugs at the UN General Assembly in early 2016. Momentum for change is growing, along the lines recommended by the Global Commission on Drug Policy and the Global Commission on HIV and the Law. While some governments are reforming their problematic laws, Canada is moving in a different direction. Here, changes in drug policy that impede access to health services, and intensify prosecution and imprisonment, have been widely criticized for undermining public health, including HIV prevention and treatment.
During this workshop, we will explore health and human rights concerns engaged by policies on (currently) illegal drugs, how the global conversation on drug policy is evolving, and how HIV organizations and other civil society groups can get involved. We will also discuss what a new vision for Canadian drug policy might look like, and learn about how people who use drugs are organizing to improve access to health services and protect their human rights.
CELEBRATE RIGHT(S) NOW
A party to support the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network’s Right(s) Now campaign