Increasing numbers of women in Canada are living with HIV, yet the virus remains highly stigmatized and poorly understood among the general public. For women facing challenges related to violence, substance use, housing, poverty or a plethora of other issues, questions regarding HIV-related legal issues may add an additional level of anxiety and risk. It is not always obvious where one can find accurate and accessible information. The first line of contact for many women is the staff at service agencies or programs they use.

This document addresses some common HIV-related legal questions of agencies that provide services to women in Canada. The information will help service providers inform and refer the women with whom they work to appropriate legal information and support when necessary. It will also present them with guidance about their responsibilities with respect to HIV-related information.

This Q&A was developed for representatives of agencies serving women living in poverty, newcomer women, women who use drugs, survivors of sexual or domestic violence, women without stable housing and women in conflict with the law, and of other agencies providing counselling, support or services to marginalized women. It is based on a workshop conducted for service providers in Toronto.

Keep up-to-date with drug policy developments by subscribing to the IDPC Monthly Alert.