Center for HIV Law and Policy Honored With Two Positive Leadership Awards.

On February 16, 2011, René Bennett-Carlson and Catherine Hanssens were honored with the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) AIDSWatch Positive Leadership Awards for outstanding leadership in the fight against HIV and AIDS.

Robert Greenwald, Director of the Treatment Access Expansion Project (TAEP) and NAPWA's partner in organizing AIDSWatch, presented the awards to Catherine Hanssens, who attended on behalf of CHLP.

A portion of Robert's remarks follow:

"Tonight we honor Catherine Hanssens and René Bennett-Carlson (both of the Center for HIV Law and Policy) with Positive Leadership Awards, for their outstanding work in addressing the ongoing and increasing threat posed by HIV criminalization laws…

Through the Center's Positive Justice Project, Catherine and René have worked tirelessly to promote the decriminalization of HIV transmission as a major HIV/AIDS advocacy priority. Through the Project, they have produced numerous manuals, research papers, and fact sheets detailing criminalization and discrimination challenges.

They have developed both litigation and advocacy strategies for people living with HIV and AIDS facing prosecution under unjust application of criminal laws and the enforcement of unfair and discriminatory HIV-specific criminal laws. Their work has been instrumental in influencing federal and state policy on these issues, including prompting a recommendation in the National HIV/AIDS Strategy for states to review the criminalization laws currently on the books.

This is a major step in the de-criminalization of HIV effort and it is an honor to present both Catherine Hanssens and René Bennett-Carlson with much-deserved Positive Leadership Awards this evening, acknowledging their outstanding work on all of our behalf."

In December 2010, Hanssens also was recognized by POZ Magazine as one of its "POZ 100," for "outstanding work in the HIV/AIDS community."