Questions about the law
Most HIV-positive mothers never deal with the legal system, but you may have questions. The most important thing to know is that if you follow the recommendation to feed your baby formula, there is no reason for the law to get involved. Other than this, the laws are not always clear. According to legal experts in Canada, this is what we do know:
- If a mother living with HIV in Canada chooses to breastfeed her baby, two things that could happen are: 1) child protection services may get involved, or 2) the mother may be charged with a crime. This is because breastfeeding is not recommended and may put her baby’s health at risk.
- If a mother living with HIV in Canada is breastfeeding her baby and she tells someone or someone finds out, experts do not recommend that the mother be automatically reported to child protection services or police. Each case should be handled based on the facts of the situation. The reason why the mother chose to breastfeed needs to be identified.
The law may change. For the most up-to-date information, contact the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network at http://www.aidslaw.ca