Absence of a buggery law does not decrease HIV among MSM in Canada


HIV and AIDS Statistics – Canada

Updated December 2012


The number of people living with HIV (including AIDS) in Canada continues to rise, from an estimated 64,000 in 2008 to 71,300 in 2011 (an 11.4% increase).

Although estimates of the number of new HIV infections are quite uncertain, the number of new infections in 2011 was estimated at 3,175 (range between 2,250 and 4,100) which was about the same as or slightly fewer than the estimate in 2008 (3,335; range of 2,370 to 4,300).

Most Recent Trends

In terms of exposure category, gay and bisexual men and other MSM continued to comprise the greatest proportion (46.6%) of new infections in 2011, which was slightly higher than the proportion they comprised in 2008 (44.1%). 

In 2011, the proportion of new infections among IDU was lower than in 2008 (13.7% compared to 16.9%).

The proportion of new infections attributed to the heterosexual/non-endemic and heterosexual/endemic exposure categories were about the same in 2011 compared to 2008 (20.3% vs 20.1% and 16.9% vs 16.2%, respectively).

Aboriginal people also continue to be over-represented in the HIV epidemic in Canada. An estimated 390 (280 to 500) new HIV infections occurred in Aboriginal people in 2011 (12.2% of all new infections), slightly fewer than the 420 (290 to 550) new infections in 2008 (12.6% of all new infections in 2008).

There were an estimated 755 (510 to 1,000) new HIV infections among women in Canada in 2011, while the corresponding figure for 2008 was 865 (630 to 1,100). The proportion of all new infections among women was also slightly lower in 2011 compared to 2008 (23.8% vs. 25.9%).


1. Summary: Estimates of HIV Prevalence and Incidence in Canada, 2011 Public Health Agency of Canada.



Main article: LGBT rights in Canada

Before 1859, Canada relied on British law to prosecute sodomy. In 1859, Canada repatriated its buggery law in the Consolidated Statutes of Canada as an offence punishable by death. Buggery remained punishable by death until 1869. A broader law targeting all homosexual male sexual activity (“gross indecency”) was passed in 1892, as part of a larger update to the criminal law. Changes to the criminal code in 1948 and 1961 were used to brand gay men as “criminal sexual psychopaths” and “dangerous sexual offenders.” These labels provided for indeterminate prison sentences. Most famously, George Klippert, a homosexual, was labelled a dangerous sexual offender and sentenced to life in prison, a sentence confirmed by the Supreme Court of Canada. He was released in 1971.

Canadian law now permits anal sex by consenting parties above the age of 18, provided no more than two people are present.[11] The bill repealing Canada’s sodomy laws was the Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 (Bill C-150), which received royal assent on June 27, 1969. The bill had been introduced in the House of Commons by Pierre Trudeau,[12] who famously stated that “there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation”.[13] In the 1995 Court of Appeal for Ontario case R. v. M. (C.), the judges ruled that the relevant section (section 159) of theCriminal Code of Canada violated section 15 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when one or both of the partners are 16 to 18 years of age;[14] this has not been tried in court again.

A similar decision was made by the Quebec Court of Appeal in the 1998 case R. v. Roy.[15]

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