HIV testing raises numerous human rights issues. When a test for HIV was first developed, there were calls for compulsory testing and quarantine of those testing positive. Ever since, political, technological and medical developments in testing for HIV and treating HIV infection have continued to raise serious legal and ethical questions.

Human rights law requires that HIV testing include:

  • informed consent;
  • pre- and post-test counselling; and
  • guaranteed confidentiality of test results.

These elements are crucial to the success of HIV testing as a public health measure to reduce HIV transmission and to provide care, treatment and support for people who test HIV-positive.

We work on numerous legal and human rights dimensions of HIV testing, including:

  • access to anonymous HIV testing;
  • HIV testing and immigration policy;
  • rapid HIV testing;
  • home testing for HIV and access to HIV testing outside health care settings;
  • testing within Aboriginal communities in Canada;
  • routine testing of women during pregnancy and testing of newborns;
  • testing of specific populations such as prisoners, sex workers, military personnel; and
  • forced testing in instances of occupational or non-occupational exposure to HIV.

Know Your Rights

This series of 8 brochures (now available in 7 languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Spanish) addresses the privacy rights and disclosure obligations of people living with HIV in a variety of day-to-day contexts.

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Women and HIV – “Women and HIV Testing”

This is one in a series of four info sheets on the human rights of women living with or vulnerable to HIV in Canada.

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Forced HIV Testing: Questions and Answers

Many Canadian provinces have passed legislation that authorizes testing someone for HIV without his or her consent. This document provides information about occupational exposure to HIV, and the legal and human rights concerns raised by forced HIV testing.

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Undue Force: An Overview of Provincial Legislation on Forced Testing for HIV

This booklet looks at existing provincial legislation in Ontario, Alberta, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba allowing forced testing for blood-borne diseases such as HIV. We conclude with a commentary on why forced testing is unjustified and unnecessary, and what measures are really needed to deal with workplace exposure to HIV.

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HIV Testing

This is a series of 12 info sheets on HIV testing in Canada. Evolution of HIV testing policy and technology in Canada Shifting HIV testing policies Consent to HIV testing Counselling Anonymous HIV testing Confidentiality Access to HIV testing HIV testing and pregnancy Rapid HIV testing Home HIV testing Mandatory and compulsory testing for HIV […]

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