283: Private Acts and Public Health: HIV Non-Disclosure in Canada

Episode 283: In this episode, we venture into a controversial and tragic chapter of Canada’s legal history. It intertwines public health, personal relationships, and the weight of the law. We’re talking about the history of HIV non-disclosure cases in Canada.

Part of our journey takes us to the early 2000s, zeroing in on Johnson Aziga, a Ugandan-born Canadian resident. His name would soon become synonymous with a landmark legal battle challenging the boundaries of consent, deception, and responsibility. Aziga was diagnosed with HIV in 1996, but his numerous subsequent relationships would cast him into the national spotlight. Two women, specifically, would become central to his story: both entered into relationships with Aziga, and HIV-related complications tragically took both. The women’s names are protected under publication bans, so we cannot speak to their biographies. Regardless, their untimely deaths would raise a storm of questions about trust, disclosure, and the duty one owes to their intimate partners. Aziga was convicted of murder and deemed a dangerous offender, but argued that his race and status as an immigrant weighed against him. In 2023, the murder convictions were overturned and replaced with manslaughter charges substituted in their place.

NOTE: In this podcast, the names of survivors will be kept confidential, and initials or aliases will be used instead.


A history of HIV/AIDS

HIV 101: The History of HIV & AIDS in Canada – Freddie Magazine

The legacy of the HIV/AIDS fight in Canada

R v Cuerrier

After Cuerrier | Publications – Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

African immigrant damnation syndrome: The case of Charles Ssenyonga

2006 CanLII 42798 (ON SC) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

2007 CanLII 38 (ON SC) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

2011 ONSC 4592 (CanLII) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

Canada: HIV “murderer” Aziga now also a “dangerous offender,” locked up for life

HIV-positive man convicted of murder apologizes to victims

2014 HRTO 144 (CanLII) | Aziga v. Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) | CanLII

2014 HRTO 1465 (CanLII) | Aziga v. Ontario (Community Safety and Correctional Services) | CanLII

Court overturns murder convictions against Ontario man who gave two women HIV, killing them

2023 ONCA 12 (CanLII) | R. v. Aziga | CanLII

Update — Canada: Murder convictions for HIV transmission reduced to manslaughter

HIV Criminalization

Criminal HIV Transmission

Canada: Ontario leads the world in the over-criminalization of HIV non-disclosure

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