What We Do
The HIV/AIDS Unit is dedicated to the spirit of the late Dominic D’Souza, who said, “I live in the hope of a world that will be, if not free of disease, free of fear and discrimination.”
To contribute to controlling the HIV/AIDS epidemic by protecting and promoting the rights of people affected by HIV/AIDS, through law reform, legal aid and allied services of advocacy, training and research.
The Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit was set up in 1998 based on a realization that law, policy and judicial action based on the human rights framework had a central role to play in effectively containing the HIV epidemic. The Lawyers Collective has been dealing with HIV/AIDS law since the late 1980’s when it handled the first HIV case in India. This case saw the incarceration of the HIV+ activist Dominic D’Souza under the Goa Public Health (Amendment) Act, 1986. It also saw, for the first time, arguments that espoused the need for human rights-based approach to deal with HIV/AIDS. Consequently, Lawyers Collective felt that a planned legal intervention was necessary to protect the rights of Persons Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHAs). It also felt the need to inform decision- makers about law and human rights and highlight its link with the public health crisis that HIV/AIDS was creating.
Our mission directs our work, which is premised on human rights. Our activities aim not only at protecting the rights of those affected by HIV/AIDS but also those who are vulnerable to HIV/AIDS including sex workers, injecting drug users, gays, lesbians, trans-gendered communities and other sexual minorities whose vulnerability is exacerbated due to non-recognition of their rights. The activities include provision of legal services, advocacy and policy research and also coordinating access to medicine and treatment (AMTC) for PLHAs.
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