Victoria film debut to spotlight the impact of
HIV non-disclosure in Canada
September 17th, 2012
VICTORIA— The impact of laws that continue to criminalize HIV positive people for not disclosing their HIV status before they engage in sexual activities will be highlighted in the Victoria premiere of Positive Women: Exposing Injustice on Sept. 21st at the Vic Theatre in downtown Victoria. There will be a Q&A after the screening, including one of the women featured in the documentary.*
Produced by the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, Positive Women: Exposing Injustice is a 45-minute documentary film that tells the personal stories of four women living with HIV in Canada — a Quebecker who was charged for not telling her partner that she had HIV at the beginning of an ultimately abusive relationship, a young woman who chose not to pursue charges against the man who infected her, an Aboriginal woman who has personally faced extreme stigma and threats, and a Latina woman who describes the challenges of disclosure and intimate relationships for women living with HIV.
Their stories are real, raw and from the heart, and tell the truth about what it’s like to live in a society that all-too-often criminalizes intimate behaviour between consenting adults and discriminates against those living with HIV. Legal experts, doctors, counsellors and support workers also lend their voices to challenge current Canadian laws that are letting down the very women they are meant to protect.
Under current criminal law, people living with HIV/AIDS in Canada can be charged with sexual assault, attempted murder and aggravated assault for not disclosing HIV status prior to engaging in sexual activity, often resulting in prison time. Canada currently sends more HIV positive people to prison for HIV non-disclosure than Germany, Australia, South Africa and Mexico combined. Later this fall, the Supreme Court of Canada is expected to make decisions on two cases related to HIV non-disclosure.
“We know that stigma and discrimination continue to fuel the HIV/AIDS epidemic and this film poignantly illustrates how the criminalization of illness impacts all of us” says James Boxshall acting executive director of AIDS Vancouver Island.
“Through screening this film, we hope to inspire dialogue about the damaging impact of Canada’s criminalization laws. Stigma and discrimination are fueling the HIV/AIDS epidemic and films like Positive Women highlight the urgent need to change course with respect to the criminalization of HIV in Canada.”
Tickets for the Sept. 21st event are available online at http://www.positivewomenthemovie.org/events.html.