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Press Release

On World AIDS Day Lambda Legal Urges President-Elect Barack Obama to Consider Critical HIV Civil Rights Issues

December 1, 2008

New York -- This World AIDS Day, December 1, 2008, Lambda Legal urges the new administration of President-Elect Barack Obama to reverse policies that have challenged the human and civil rights of people living with HIV/AIDS in the United States.

"People living with HIV in the United States continue to face difficult challenges and some of those are caused or exacerbated by federal policies," said Bebe Anderson, HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal. "Government- sponsored discrimination is one of the worst types of discrimination because it invites others to follow. At the very least, we should expect our government officials -- federal, state and local -- to reject policies that explicitly exclude people living with HIV or that are interpreted in a way that marginalizes them."

Specifically, Lambda Legal will advocate for the new administration to take actions including:


  • issuing immediately an executive order to ensure that all federal agencies are complying with the federal Rehabilitation Act and are not imposing medically-unwarranted restrictions on employees and applicants living with HIV.
  • directing the Department of Justice to issue official guidance to state officials, clarifying that states' exclusion of people with HIV from occupational training schools and licensing in professions such as barbering, massage, food services, and home health care violates federal antidiscrimination law.
  • directing the Surgeon General to re-issue findings reflecting the conclusive scientific evidence showing that needle exchange and syringe access programs reduce drug abuse and prevent HIV infection and urging Congress to lift the ban on federal funding that limits these programs and costs lives.
  • directing the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Attorney General, and the Secretary of Transportation to promptly issue regulations implementing the ADA Amendments Act in accordance with its remedial purposes.

To find out more about the list of critical HIV-related civil rights issues that Obama administration should promptly address -- developed by Lambda Legal in collaboration with the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, the ACLU, the Center for HIV Law & Policy, and GLAD -- please visit our website:

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This article was provided by Lambda Legal. Visit Lambda Legal's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
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