Disclosing HIV Status

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Does a person infected with the HIV virus have to tell a partner about it before they have sex? It depends.

The Supreme Court of Canada has decided that a person must tell a sexual partner about the condition only if there is a realistic possibility of transmission of HIV to the partner.If there is no realistic possibility of transmission, then an HIV-positive person does have to reveal it.

Generally, there is no realistic possibility of transmission of HIV if

(1) the amount of the virus in the body at the time the partners have sex is low, AND

(2) the partners use a condom.

If these two conditions have not been met, then the person infected with HIV must tell the partner about the infection.

Having unprotected sex without telling the other person ahead of time can be considered to be the crime of aggravated sexual assault, a serious crime. Whether or not the partner becomes infected with the virus after having sex does not change the fact that a crime  occurred. For an HIV-positive person to be found guilty of assault, it must be proved that

  • this person lied, hid the condition or did not tell the partner about it,
  • there is a realistic possibility of HIV transmission, AND
  • the partner would have refused to have sex if the condition had been out in the open.


Important !
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.

Articles in the category "HIV and Diseases That Must Be Reported"