‘Using research in the fight against HIV criminalization: A guide for activists’, by Eric Mykhalovskiy, Edwin J Bernard, Sally Cameron and Laurel Sprague

May 29, 2019

Today, HIV Justice Network publishes a new guide to help advocates working to end HIV criminalisation who want to use research in their activism. The guide focuses on how to use the results of all kinds of existing research in the fight against HIV criminalisation.

The guide was written by Professor Eric Mykhalovskiy, Sociology Department, York University, Canada; Edwin J Bernard, HIV Justice Network’s Global Co-ordinator; Sally Cameron, HIV Justice Network’s Senior Policy Analyst; and Laurel Sprague, formerly at Sero, HIV Justice Network, and GNP+ and now Special Advisor, Community Mobilisation, UNAIDS.

Most advocates working to end HIV criminalisation are not formally trained researchers. The thought of reading and using scientific studies may feel daunting. There is no “one best way” to use research for advocacy; no simple “paint-by-numbers” guide. But there are some basic principles and ideas about research and how to use it in advocacy that can be helpful. In this guide, we present those principles and ideas. Our goal is to demystify research about HIV criminalisation and suggest some of the ways it can be used by advocates.

This guide, which can be downloaded as a 22 page pdf or read in full below, has five main sections:

  • Section one discusses the growing expectation to use research evidence in advocacy work.
  • Section two defines what we mean by research.
  • Section three describes the different kinds of research that have been done on HIV criminalisation.
  • Section four talks about how to find, read and interpret research on HIV criminalisation.
  • Section five gives some examples of how advocates have successfully used research to challenge HIV criminalisation.

The guide was launched today in Toronto at the second in-person meeting of the Canadian Coalition to Reform HIV Criminalisation, which included the participation of both Eric Mykhalovskiy and Edwin J Bernard, along with HIV criminalisation survivors, other people living with HIV, community organisations, lawyers, researchers and advocates.

It willl also be highlighted tomorrow at the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network’s 8th Symposium on HIV, Law and Human Rights in Toronto.