This is a report summarizing a recent survey of the legal needs of people affected by HIV living in the South. Send Lawyers, Guides and Money: The Legal Services Needs of People Living with HIV in the Southern United States, describes the responses of persons with HIV and those who provide services to them to questions about discrimination and other barriers to basic needs, and how they fared with accessing legal help to resolve those barriers. Based on information from nearly 400 people in eleven Southern states, the report is intended for use by legal and social services organizations and funders to inform program planning and resource allocation for HIV-related services
Eighty-five percent of the respondents to CHLP's survey identified problems related to their HIV status that required legal help. Of these people, almost 50% were not able to receive legal help the last time they needed it. The problems for which they needed legal help included everything from denial of housing and employment discrimination to family and life planning issues such as wills and custody concerns. Lack of access to affordable housing was most frequently identified as a pressing legal need, and finding legal help was most difficult for immigration matters. The full report examines demographic and geographic differences in priorities and available resources.
The report concludes that without additional resources in the form of HIV-knowledgeable attorneys, legal guides and resources, and increased funding of legal services in the South, some of the people hardest hit by the U.S. AIDS epidemic will continue to go without essential services needed to maintain their health.