Reflecting on HIV disclosure laws in the context of unsafe sex and the harm-reduction strategy

Cary Federman, Dave Holmes, François Tremblay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this article, we locate two discourses regarding the incidences of bareback sex practices. First, there is the greater reliance on safe sex practices, including going beyond condemnation of risky behaviour. Second, there is a disciplinary discourse of law and punishment. In the first instance, there is the promotion of the use of alternative (non-invasive) sex practices and condom use. In the second, there are highly selective and punitive disclosure laws specifically directed at unprotected sexual activity and other forms of risky or illicit behaviours that involve the transference of blood or other secretions. We believe, however, that a heightened understanding of the motivations behind unsafe sex is necessary to promote the implementation of public health interventions that will be better adapted to the reality of this population. There is, then, an urgent need to begin reflecting on the type of preventive strategies needed. To this effect, the aim of the current article is to initiate some reflections as well as a dialogue on the compatibility between the practice of bareback sex and a health risk reduction approach.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-243
Number of pages20
JournalSocial Theory and Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • AIDS
  • HIV
  • disclosure laws
  • harm reduction
  • unsafe sex


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