The AIDS Prevention and Control Project in the Indian state Tamil Nadu will establish 10 legal aid clinics for people living with HIV/AIDS in 10 districts of the state, S. Vijayakumar, project director and member secretary of Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society, said recently, The Hindu reports.
According to Vijayakumar, five legal aid clinics staffed with lawyers from the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority, one social worker and two outreach workers are operating in the state with the support of a network for people living with HIV/AIDS. The clinics have received 190 legal petitions, which involve property and financial disputes, as well as stigma and discrimination claims, and 840 nonlegal petitions, which involve requests for widow pensions and employment issues. Vijayakumar said 68 legal cases and 229 nonlegal have been resolved, adding that the remaining cases are expected to be settled by the end of March.
Acting Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya said there are several direct and indirect links between human rights violations and HIV/AIDS, noting that HIV-positive people have been denied access to care and have been the targets of discrimination in the workplace. Mukhopadhaya said community-based HIV programs and anti-discriminatory measures focusing on businesses, hospitals and schools could help reduce HIV-associated stigma (The Hindu, 1/11).
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