The Center for HIV Law and Policy

The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV, Hepatitis and stigmatized identity through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.

CHLP’s current primary initiatives to advance these goals are: 1) the Positive Justice Project, a network of people living with HIV and their advocates, health care providers, community- based organizations and others, working collaboratively to end HIV criminalization; 2) Teen SENSE, which advocates for written policies and standards for LGBT-inclusive sexual health care for young people in state custody; 3) The HIV Policy Resource Bank, an online, annotated collection of over a thousand resources on three dozen issue areas; 4) the HIV Legal Collaborative, a national network of attorneys enlisted to assist with the counseling and representation of individuals with HIV facing civil or criminal legal issues, and to advise CHLP and our partners on local and state law matters; and 5) legal support to lawyers representing clients charged with violating criminal HIV statutes.

CHLP challenges the use of the criminal law and public health powers to regulate the sex, sexuality and health status of individuals, particularly members of marginalized communities. We focus on increasing the profile, inclusion and quality of life of those on the furthest margins of our justice movements and who stand to gain, or lose, the most from the issues and strategies we prioritize. This includes sex workers, people of color, immigrants and the economically disadvantaged. Many of these people also are LGBT; all are routinely and disproportionately targeted by and entrapped in criminal law enforcement, corrections and detention systems.

The most common characteristics of the communities and populations we serve relate to race and economic status -- a shortage of the political and social capital needed to influence policies and institutions that can rule our lives. The Positive Justice Project addresses one aspect of the social barriers to engagement in health care and services: the bias reflected in stigmatizing criminal law enforcement policies that not only can discourage active engagement in care, but can be life-ruining for those who become convicted felons, branded by the legal system as dangerous disease vectors.

To improve the health, equal rights and economic opportunities of those PLHIV who are most marginalized, we focus on those state systems and institutions where they are disproportionately represented: the criminal legal system, youth detention and foster care facilities. This means advocating for criminal justice policies in which sexual orientation, gender identity, HIV/health/disability status, or any type of identity play no role in enforcement, and for transparent, humane and fair policies.


Recent Events

Webinar: A Guide to State-level Organizing: HIV Criminal Law Reform
Wednesday, March 25, 2020, 3:00-4:30pm ET
For more info, click here

Visit the Facebook page for Positive Justice Project, a national coalition working to end HIV criminalization in the United States.

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