Why HIV testing needs informed consent: Healthy Debate article by HALCO and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

On September 5, 2019, Healthy Debate published Why HIV testing needs informed consent, which is a response by HALCO and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network (Legal Network) to the Healthy Debate article Written consent for HIV testing: Time to stop perpetuating stigma (July 17, 2019).

Amy Wah (HALCO policy lawyer), Ryan Peck (HALCO executive director/lawyer), Sandra Ka Hon Chu (Legal Network director of research and advocacy) and Cécile Kazatchkine (Legal Network senior policy analyst) authored the response to raise concerns about the approach suggested in the July 17, 2019, article, including:

  • that the approach suggested may lead to the hollowing out of the essential principles of voluntary and informed consent thereby causing human rights violations and harm to people living with HIV.
  • that in the context of HIV, testing must be (i) confidential; (ii) accompanied by counselling; and (iii) conducted with voluntary and informed consent (the “3 Cs”), and that informed consent requires, among other things, that the patient be properly informed of their right to refuse the test, and of the benefits and risks of taking or refusing the test.
  • that the approach would not comply with the law in Ontario.

You can access both articles on the Healthy Debate website:

If you are living with HIV in Ontario and have questions about testing or any other legal issue, please contact us for free legal advice.


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