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December 01, 2012

New Tool Helps Communities Get to Zero on HIV-Related Discrimination

December 2012

In the lead up to World AIDS Day on December 1, the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ABA ROLI) partnered with the ABA AIDS Coordinating Committee to launch two new publications. The public event, hosted at Georgetown University Law School, presented ABA ROLI’s HIV/AIDS Legal Assessment Tool and the second edition of the committee’s HIV & AIDS Benchbook. The event included presentations on the new resources and expert panels exploring legal aspects of the AIDS epidemic in the US and abroad. Below, you can access videos of the sessions, which address topics such as eliminating HIV-related discrimination, enhancing access to justice for people living with HIV and empowering affected populations and civil society organizations to advance human rights in the context of HIV and AIDS through community-driven initiatives.

The HIV/AIDS Legal Assessment Tool, which ABA ROLI developed with funding support from the U.S. Agency for International Development, is a mechanism for assessing a country’s compliance with international legal standards on the protection of human rights of people living with, and affected by, HIV. When implemented in a country, the tool uncovers incidences of HIV-related discrimination, explores whether the legal system is equipped to eliminate discriminatory practices and studies the government’s commitment of resources to ensure the rights of people living with HIV and key populations. ABA ROLI’s tool will contribute to achieving the global goal of getting to zero on HIV-related discrimination by helping local stakeholders identify important elements of the reform process and by facilitating rule of law programming in the context of HIV and AIDS.

The tool, which focuses on discrimination in both public and private life, derives its principles from a variety of internal standard-setting documents and other sources of international law. It is designed to highlight those areas that need to be addressed to eliminate HIV-related discrimination. The tool’s analytical framework consists of 22 factor statements—organized into sections for access to essential services, equality in public and private life, key populations and access to justice—that serve as indicators to analyze domestic laws, policies and practices in key areas where HIV-related discrimination is likely to occur.

During her presentation, ABA ROLI Senior Legal Analyst Paulina Rudnicka contributed to the prevailing experts’ view that the path to an AIDS-free generation is only possible through enhanced multi-sectoral collaboration and an end to injustice. “When people living with HIV and key populations enjoy equality in all aspects of public and private life, they are more likely to seek testing, receive counseling and maintain treatment regimens,” said Rudnicka, who co-authored the tool. “Conversely, discrimination forces people underground and increases their vulnerability to HIV and AIDS.”

To learn more about our research and assessments, contact the ABA Rule of Law Initiative at [email protected]

Presentation of the HIV AIDS Assessment Tool

Simon Conté, Director of Research & Assessments, ABA Rule of Law Initiative  

Paulina Rudnicka, Senior Legal Analyst with ABA Rule of Law Initiative 

Presentation of Benchbook

Dawn Siler-Nixon, Chair of ABA AIDS Coordinating Committee  

Michael Pates, Director of ABA AIDS Coordinating Committee  

Roundtable Discussion: HIV in the United States  

Featuring Dawn Siler-Nixon, Chair of ABA AIDS Coordinating Committee (moderator); Jeffrey Crowley, Distinguished Scholar and Program Director, O’Neill Institute; Allison Nichol, Chief, Disability Rights Section, U.S. Department of Justice and Scott Schoettes, Director, HIV Project, Lambda Legal.

Roundtable Discussion: HIV Internationally  

Featuring Paulina Rudnicka, Senior Legal Analyst with ABA Rule of Law Initiative (moderator); Brian Honermann, Associate, O’Neill Institute and Kip Beardsley, Senior Technical Advisor, Futures Group.