BC Civil Liberties Launches Patient Rights Resources on HIV Testing

Today the BC Civil Liberties Association is launching two new guides on patient rights in the context of HIV testing. The tremendous benefits of new treatment options for HIV have fostered a push for “routine” HIV testing, but information about patients’ rights has not kept pace.

Micheal Vonn, Policy Director of the BCCLA: “Everyone supports the goals of increased access to testing and treatment, but we can’t build a supportive culture for HIV testing by denying people essential information to make their own choices and exercise their rights. There’s been an unfortunate trend to minimizing information for patients that urgently needs to be reversed.”

The new guides cover issues such as informed consent, “non-nominal” (no-name) testing, how to safeguard your medical privacy and limit who can view your medical information, and information about the criminal law and non-disclosure to sexual partners.

“Medical information is less confidential than it used to be because of electronic health records. People living with HIV advocated very hard for some patient controls within these new systems, but patients can’t use those privacy tools if no one tells them about it. And there has been reluctance on the part of the government to tell people about their rights in this regard”, said Ken Buchanan, Chair of Positive Living BC.

Jesse Brown, Executive Director of YouthCO: “There is a huge need for these resources, which cover all the bases about HIV testing. We need to make sure that people are safe and comfortable accessing testing and confident that their consent is fully informed.”

The production of these HIV testing resources was made possible through a project grant from the MAC Aids Fund, as well as on-going operational funding from the Law Foundation of British Columbia”

The HIV testing pocketbook and the HIV testing handbook can be viewed at:

HIV Pocketbook >>

HIV Handbook >>