HIV/AIDS & the Law


The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania is the primary source of pro bono (free) legal counsel for HIV+ folks in Philadelphia.  People seeking assistance should call the AIDS Law Project at (215) 587-9377 between 9:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m., Mon-Fri.  Spanish is available.  In addition, AIDS Law Project offers:

For folks not in PA, consult the American Bar Association’s Directory of Legal Resources for People with HIV/AIDS that lists organizations like AIDS Law Project in all U.S. states and territories.

For pro bono legal counsel in Philly, not necessarily related to HIV/AIDS, see Community Legal Services.  Go to the CLS intake page for intake phone numbers by legal issue.

For other pro bono counsel in PA, see the Pennsylvania Legal AID Network.  For free legal resources in Pennsylvania on a wide range of topics, see

For LGBT legal counsel in Pennsylvania, not necessarily related to HIV/AIDS, see Equality Advocates Pennsylvania.  (EAP is going to become part of the Mazzoni Center by 2010, but for now is still its own organization.)

For legal counsel for the incarcerated in Pennsylvania, contact the PA Institutional Law Project, and/or the Lewisburg Prison Project.  To see resources for other states, consult the American Civil Liberties Union’s Prisoner Assistance Directory.


The biggest web resource for U.S. legal information is The Center for HIV Law and Policy, which has a searchable Resource Bank that’s overflowing with legal information.  The resources are sorted into 33 topics – Confidentiality and Disclosure, Employment, Housing, Public Access Benefits, Youth, and many more.  Within each topic, you can sort by type of document – Laws, Court Decisions, Advocacy Documents, Legal Guides, Journal Articles, and Training Materials, and more.

Highlights from the Center for HIV Law and Policy website include:

David Webber, the former executive director of the AIDS Law Project, edits a book called AIDS & The Law, which we have the 2008 edition of in the library.  You can read the table of contents at Webber’s website, or come down to the library and check it out!

For international resources, see the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network’s AIDSLEX, which includes:

  • an e-Library of resources which can be browsed by topic (Prisons, Sex Work, Prevention, Disability, etc), as well as access to bibliographies, lit reviews, judicial decisions, and other topics of particular interest to those doing scholarly research
  • an open discussion forum and an Ask the Experts section

For general legal resources, the American Bar Association’s is an invaluable collection, LexisNexis’s LexisONE allows you to search for individual legal rulings, has a page on all Federal Laws and Regulations, and the U.S. Law Library of Congress has a wide range of freely accessible Legal Resources.

The AIDS Library has several legal resource books, including:

  • The Rights of People Who are HIV Positive by the ACLU
  • The RIGHTS of Lesbians, Gay Men, Bisexuals, and Transgender People by the ACLU
  • Represent Yourself in Court: How to Prepare & Try a Winning Case

Another useful resource collection is The Body’s assemblage of legal documents and suggestions about Wills, Guardians & Powers of Attorney & HIV/AIDS.


There are a number of key laws that are relevant to the HIV/AIDS community.  Among them are

The American Civil Liberties Union has a regularly updated collection of legal stories on HIV-Related Discrimination, HIV/AIDS Privacy/Confidentiality, Access to Health Care, Major HIV/AIDS Court Cases, and more.

The Body has collections of stories on Legal Rights for HIV-Positive People, HIV/AIDS-Related Discrimination Cases, U.S. Laws/News Regarding HIV Disclosure, and several more topics.

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