July 08, 2020

Policy

Policy

Since the AIDS Coordinating Committee was established in 1987, the American Bar Association has taken policy positions on many issues related to HIV/AIDS. Read below for specific Association policies in the areas of criminal justice, compassionate release, long term care, housing, needle exchange, and more.

[Adopted August 1996]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports compassionate release of terminally ill prisoners and endorses adoption of administrative and judicial procedures for compassionate release consistent with the "Administrative Model for Compassionate Release Legislation" and the "Judicial Model for Compassionate Release Legislation," each dated April 1996; and

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports alternatives to sentencing for non-violent terminally ill offenders in which the court, upon the consent of the defense and prosecuting attorneys, and upon a finding that the defendant is suffering from a terminal condition, disease, or syndrome and is so debilitated or incapacitated as to create a reasonable probability that he or she is physically incapable of presenting any danger to society, and upon a finding that the furtherance of justice so requires, may accept a plea of guilty to any lesser included offense of any count of the accusatory instrument, to satisfy the entire accusatory instrument and to permit the court to sentence the defendant to a non-incarceratory alternative.  In making such a determination, the court must consider factors governing dismissals in the interest of justice.

[Adopted 1988]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports the enactment of legislation that promotes an increased level of voluntary counseling and testing for AIDS; mandates that identifying information obtained as a result of such counseling or testing may not be disclosed without the consent of the individual except where such information is required to be provided by the state or federal law and such law provides for the protection of the confidentiality of the identity of the individual; notwithstanding the foregoing, any contact tracing of sexual contacts provided by law must be conducted without disclosing information identifying the infected individual; and prohibits discrimination against an "otherwise qualified individual" as defined by such legislation in employment, housing, public accommodations, or governmental services, solely by reason of the fact that such individual is, or is regarded as being, infected by the HIV virus or having AIDS or an AIDS related condition.


[Adopted August 1989, Revised 1990]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges that federal, state, and local law, and the policies of private entities concerning the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) should be consistent with the following principles:

A. ACCESS TO THE LEGAL SYSTEM AND THE ADMINISTRATION     OF JUSTICE

B. CONFIDENTIALITY

C. PUBLIC HEALTH LAW

D. ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE

E. HIV TESTING AND COUNSELING

F. INSURANCE

G. DRUG DEVELOPMENT

H. EMPLOYMENT

I. DISCRIMINATION

J. PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION

K. CHILD WELFARE

L. FAMILY LAW

M. DRUG ABUSE

N. IMMIGRATION

O. EDUCATING THE PUBLIC

[Adopted in August 1997]

RESOLVED, That in order to further scientifically based public health objectives to reduce HIV infection and other blood-borne diseases, and in support of our long-standing opposition to substance abuse, the American Bar Association supports the removal of legal barriers to the establishment and operation of approved needle exchange programs that include a component of drug counseling and drug treatment referrals.

[Adopted in August 1992]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges enactment of state legislation providing that the fact or suspicion that an owner or occupant was infected with HIV, diagnosed with AIDS, or diagnosed with any other disease determined by medical evidence not to be transmittable through occupancy of improvements located on such property is not a material fact requiring disclosure in real estate transactions.

[Adopted February 1989]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association, recognizing the special problems which the criminal justice system faces in dealing with issues related to the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) epidemic, recommends the following:

  1. RECOMMENDATION CONCERNING CRIMINAL SANCTIONS
  2. RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING CRIMINAL PROCEDURE AND COURTROOM PROCEDURE
  3. RECOMMENDATIONS CONCERNING CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES

[Adopted August 1989]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association endorses the global strategy of the World Health Organization (WHO) for the worldwide prevention and control of AIDS;

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges (a) the Government of the United States to strengthen its support for the WHO global program on AIDS (WHO/GPA), including AIDS program activities implemented by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and for bilateral programs of research, prevention and control; (b) the effective coordination of international AIDS programs conducted by the WHO/GPA, PAHO, and other global, regional, bilateral arrangements, and private voluntary organizations.

[Adopted February 2004]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association urges the Government of the United States to implement legislation, policies, programs, and international agreements that address or are relevant to the HIV/AIDS pandemic in a manner consistent with international human rights law and science-based prevention, care, support, and treatment objectives.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association endorses and urges the timely accomplishment of human rights and other achievement targets set forth in the United Nations Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS, dated June 2001.

[Adopted August 1995]

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports action by federal, state, local, and territorial governments to create legal mechanisms that allow people with HIV, AIDS or other debilitating, chronic, fatal illnesses to better plan for long-term care for themselves and their families, including standby guardianships, advance medical directives, and viatical settlements.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association supports educational activities and other efforts designed to encourage implementation of appropriate legislation on standby guardianships, advance medical directives, and viatical settlements.

FURTHER RESOLVED, That where legislation is implemented concerning standby guardianships, advance medical directives, or viatical settlements, such legislation should contain appropriate consumer safeguards.

RESOLVED, That the American Bar Association encourages lawyers, law firms, legal services agencies, law schools and bar associations to develop medical-legal partnerships with hospital
community-based health care providers, and social service organizations to help identify and resolve diverse legal issues that affect patients’ health and well-being.