Nondisclosure prosecutions and population health outcomes: examining HIV testing, HIV diagnoses, and the attitudes of men who have sex with men following nondisclosure prosecution media releases in Ottawa, Canada

This study was designed to examine HIV testing, HIV diagnoses, and the attitudes of men who have sex with men following media releases about a local nondisclosure prosecution in Ottawa, Canada. The authors first reviewed the trends in HIV testing and HIV diagnoses from 2008 through 2011 in Ottawa, Canada. They went on to explore the attitudes and beliefs of local MSM about HIV, HIV prevention, HIV serostatus disclosure, nondisclosure prosecutions, and public health.

Researchers found that, statistically speaking, HIV testing and HIV diagnoses among men who have sex with men did not significantly change after the media releases about a local nondisclosure prosecution. However, qualitatively, a subgroup of 27 men who have sex with men (12 HIV-positive, 15 HIV-negative) expressed their belief that the local public health department openly shares information about people living with HIV with the police. Some HIV-positive participants stated that this perceived association between the local public health department and police services caused them to not access public health department services. The authors conclude that nondisclosure prosecutions do likely undermine HIV prevention efforts.