Blog of Rights

On World AIDS Day, Many Living with HIV Being Kept Separate and Unequal

On World AIDS Day, Many Living with HIV Being Kept Separate and Unequal

By Carl Takei, ACLU National Prison Project & Rose Saxe, AIDS Project at 10:35am

 

On World AIDS Day, we remember those who have died from HIV/AIDS, and commit to do more for those who currently are living with HIV.

Attica 40 Years Later: Much Progress, But Much Still Left to Do

By Jennifer Wedekind, National Prison Project at 4:11pm

On September 9, 1971, in response to brutal living conditions and oppressive policies, prisoners rose up and took control of New York's Attica prison. The prisoners held more than 30 prison staff hostage, taking care to protect them from additional…

Fighting AIDS and Fighting for Free Speech

By Mie Lewis, Women's Rights Project at 5:18pm

Today, a federal appeals court in Manhattan heard oral argument in a case challenging the so-called "anti-prostitution pledge," which is part of a law called the U.S. Leadership Against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria Act. On one side,…

On World AIDS Day, Fight Ongoing Discrimination Against HIV-Positive Prisoners

On World AIDS Day, Fight Ongoing Discrimination Against HIV-Positive Prisoners

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 2:41pm

Today is World AIDS Day. At the beginning of this year, three states — Mississippi, Alabama and South Carolina — continued to segregate its prisoners with HIV from the rest of the prison population.

Two ACLU Attorneys Named "Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40"

By Robert Nakatani, LGBT Project at 11:30am

The National LGBT Bar Association recently announced the recipients of its inaugural Best LGBT Lawyers under 40 Award, and we're happy to note that two ACLU attorneys are among that select group. Christine Sun, senior counsel for the ACLU LGBT &…

In Alabama and South Carolina, Separate and Unequal

By Suzanne Ito, ACLU at 11:30am

Last month, we blogged about the state of Mississippi's decision to stop segregating prisoners with HIV from the rest of the prison population.

Today, the ACLU and Human Rights Watch released a new report that focuses on Alabama and South…

Keeping the Courthouse Doors Open to Protect Reproductive Health Care and Religious Liberty

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 3:48pm

(Originally posted at ACSblog.)

Last week, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled that an ACLU challenge to the government's use of taxpayer dollars to impose religious doctrine on victims of human trafficking may go forward.…

A Victorious Step Toward Ensuring Reproductive Health Care for Trafficking Victims

By Brigitte Amiri, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 11:27am

On Monday, a federal district court in Massachusetts ruled that an ACLU challenge to the government's use of taxpayer dollars to impose religious doctrine on victims of human trafficking may go forward. The decision is a victory for women's health…

House Vote on Syringe Exchange Programs a Victory for Public Health

Last week, Congress took an important step in the fight against HIV/AIDS with a historic vote on syringe exchange programs. On July 25, the House voted to remove the ban on providing federal funding for syringe exchange programs.

Since 1988, the federal government has prohibited states from using their share of HIV/AIDS prevention money in syringe exchange programs, one of the most effective programs available to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic, as well as Hepatitis C and other blood-borne illnesses. This policy was based on ideology rather than on evidence, and the repeal of this ban signifies that Congress is finally realizing that needle exchange programs are a safe and effective approach in reducing the public health problems associated with drugs.

Syringe exchange programs allow intravenous drug users to obtain hypodermic needles and associated injection equipment at little or no cost, and most of these services allow drug users to exchange used, dirty needles for new ones. They also often provide other public health services, such as HIV and Hepatitis C testing and access to substance abuse counseling. Numerous federally funded studies have shown that needle exchanges slow the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C and that they do not increase substance abuse. This scientific evidence has been confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Institute of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and the American Medical Association, among others. See the CDC’s Report here (PDF) confirming that needle exchange programs are helpful not only in reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS, but also as a way to get intravenous drug users into healthcare programs and to treatment that helps to get them off drugs.

Syringe exchanges are cost-effective and life saving programs. Each year,nearly 8,000 people in the US contract HIV/AIDS,and about 12,000 contract Hepatitis C,directly or indirectly from sharing contaminated syringes.The cost of preventing one case of HIV infection through syringe exchange programs is approximately $4,000 to $12,000, and yields savings of as much as $648,000 in medical costs per HIV infection and approximately $25,000 to $30,000 in medical costs per Hepatitis C infection prevented. Allowing states to use federal funding for these programs will help decrease the spread of these diseases.

Locked up for Being Pregnant and HIV-Positive

By Alexa Kolbi-Molinas, ACLU Reproductive Freedom Project at 12:24pm

I'm going to do things a little backwards here... Ordinarily, I would give you what is called a time served sentence, and...your time in prison would effectively end today....[However] I'm inclined to keep you in jail, given your medical condition…