HIV Women in Canada


            “Positive women” was an informative documentary that illustrated the experiences of women that are HIV positive. Before watching this documentary, I believed the greatest challenge for a woman living with HIV would be to deal with the virus and its treatment. I soon realized that some women living in a well-developed country like Canada are subjected to harassment and violence just because they are labelled as women with HIV. It is worse for those who live with the virus, are women and are part of a community that is a visible minority in Canada (such as Inuit and Aboriginal peoples). They are thus part of a minority within a minority.

The recent law passed, according to which people with HIV must disclose their status before an intimate relationship or be convicted, has only made matters worse. This could result in a partner (with HIV) being forced to stay in the  relationship regardless of whether they wish to or not because the other partner (without HIV) could threaten to say that his/her partner’s HIV status had not been disclosed. This could even result in the partner with HIV staying in an abusive relationship for fear of getting convicted.

I felt saddened to be shown that such cruelty was taking place in a country I consider to be safe and free is despicable. Although I was happy to see the women with HIV in the film have some form of social support, there may be so many women who are not as lucky. Contracting HIV is deeply stigmatized in most communities as it can be spread through intercourse. However, many do not know that it can be contracted via other means (Brotto, Woo & Ryder, 2007).


Brotto, L. A., Woo, J. S., & Ryder, A. G. (2007). ORIGINAL RESEARCH—PSYCHOLOGY: Acculturation and Sexual Function in Canadian East Asian Men. The journal of sexual medicine, 4(1), 72-82.


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