Since the beginning of the epidemic, people with HIV and their advocates have been calling on the President of the United States to take visible leadership in condemning discrimination and in supporting adequate services for people with HIV. As we prepare for a new administration, we need to make it clear that protecting the rights and dignity of people with HIV/AIDS must be a central part of a national AIDS strategy.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy and Lambda Legal have been chairing a working group that also includes the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, the ACLU, and GLAD, on specific HIV civil rights issues for a HIV/AIDS transition document for the new administration. In the attached document, we identify 15 steps – some requiring little more than a few strokes of the Executive Pen – that the next U.S. administration should take in its first 100 days to end government support and accommodation of HIV-related stigma and discrimination. Most of them require little or no investment of funds but, rather, call for a removal of government-created barriers to the ability of people with HIV to work, have intimate relationships, secure medical, prevention and supportive services, and be afforded respect and autonomy in their treatment decision-making without fear of punishment or exclusion solely because of their HIV status, gender, sexual orientation, or fact of imprisonment.