In a case brought by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, two organizations (AOSI and Pathfinder International) that received funding under the United States Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act of 2003 (the Leadership Act) sued the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), among others, seeking to enjoin their narrow reading of the Leadership Act’s provision requiring funded organizations to have a policy expressly opposing prostitution and sex trafficking. In May, 2006, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that this requirement violated the organizational plaintiff’s First Amendment rights, restricting their privately-funded speech and forcing them to adopt the U.S. government’s views in order to be eligible for funding. The opinion may also be useful to those looking for a source in which to discuss HIV among marginalized groups. The opinion discusses the larger context in which the debate takes place, citing the high rates of HIV among some populations sex workers and the difficulties in reaching this marginalized community. The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit remanded in view of proposed new HHS and UNAIDS guidelines to determine whether a preliminary injunction is appropriate. In February 2008, the plaintiffs filed an amended complaint to add Global Health Council and InterAction (international development and public health groups) as plaintiffs; Global Health Council and InterAction then moved for a preliminary injunction on behalf of their members. HHS represented to the court that its July 2007 guidelines will go through a notice and comment process by April 2008, after which the court will assess the constitutionality of the revised guidelines. For copies of pleadings and other information, go to http://www.brennancenter.org/content/resource/aosi_v_usaid/
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV 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.