The Fine Print Blog

By Megan McLemore, J.D.,L.L.M.
Senior Researcher, Human Rights Watch
(originally posted at

With headlines like "Obama Administration Promoting the Transmission of AIDS" and "The Justice Department Wants You to Get AIDS and Die," there has been more heat than light in some of the responses to the news that the U.S. Department of Justice may sue the South Carolina Department of Corrections over its segregation of HIV-positive prisoners.  Why is the notion that HIV-positive prisoners should have the same housing and work release options as convicted murderers so controversial?  And why is the notion that HIV is a mark of extreme dangerousness and death still so widely accepted?

By Joanna Cuevas Ingram, CHLP Summer 2010 Legal Intern, U.C.- Davis School of Law, Class of 2012

CHLP hosted the very first U.S.-based electronic forum for HIV-positive women and their advocates last month, and learned a lot in the process.One thing we learned: the E-forum is a promising tool for getting more voices of people living with HIV into the mix that influences what advocates and government officials prioritize on their behalf.

By Catherine Hanssens
Executive Director, CHLP

Comprehensive reviews of the newly-released National HIV/AIDS Strategy (NHAS) are still to come, although certain themes have emerged in the first reactions of national AIDS organizations. We consider what the NHAS has to say on several issues: criminalization of HIV, stepped-up enforcement of existing civil rights laws, expanded access to legal services to help with enforcement, and prisoners' rights. Not only are these issues a central part of fighting HIV in the US, at least one has the added benefit of costing little or nothing to address.

By Julie Turkewitz
Staff Writer, Housing Works

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo's decision to use a state law allowing civil commitment of dangerous sex-offenders to keep Nushawn Williams in prison  — despite Williams' having served his full 12-year-term — has set off alarm bells for AIDS advocates and civil rights experts.

by Joseph Sonnabend, M.D.

One of the first physicians on the front lines of AIDS clinical care comments on the meaning and importance of informed consent in the push for earlier use of antiretroviral therapies, and laments the absence of activists who fought to safeguard it.


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