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Toolkit: Scaling Up HIV-Related Legal Services

When involving people living with HIV and key populations in training, it is important that they can feel safe in discussing personal issues, particularly if they are concerned about the legal implications of disclosing their health status and past or current risk behaviours. For example, it may be desirable to invite representatives of local people living with HIV to come one day in advance of a training workshop in order to prepare them for presenting at the workshop. This provides an opportunity to revise the agenda based on their input.

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Capacity-building can also address the special needs of clients with HIV, such as: 1 The need, where desired, for strict confidentiality of client records and the importance, should the client so wish, of avoiding publicity, including the need for privacy in court proceedings. 2 The importance of non-stigmatizing personal conduct and use of nonjudgemental language when interacting with clients and their families. 3 The benefits of alternative dispute resolution processes for people living with HIV (e.g. speed of resolution, costs, avoidance of stress). 4 Knowledge of local referral points for HIV care, treatment and support services and organizations of people living with HIV. Capacity-building can also address the need to monitor and evaluate HIV legal services (see Section 7). This should include the importance of involving people living with HIV and key populations in the evaluation process to determine the quality and impact of the services provided from a service user’s perspective. In many respects, people living with HIV and key populations are the experts. They have personal experience that service providers can learn from. Many clients fear being judged by their legal service provider. Judgemental service providers cannot provide services that are truly accessible to clients. Capacity-building methods may include: 1 An opportunity for a person living with HIV to present and discuss their experiences with human rights violations and the legal system and to explain the GIPA principle (greater involvement of people living with HIV and AIDS) and what is involved in making GIPA meaningful. 2 Site visits to other HIV services, to familiarize participants with other available non-legal services. Alternatively, a representative from a local HIV nongovernmental organization could attend in order to describe the other services available in the community. 3 Discussing and challenging attitudes to sex, sex work, sexual orientation and gender identity. 4 Involving experts such as an epidemiologist or an HIV clinician in presentations or discussions. Experts are able to respond authoritatively to questions regarding the nature of HIV and how it is transmitted. 5 Participatory learning methods such as working groups and group exercises, so that opportunities to discuss issues and learn from each other are maximized.


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Toolkit: Scaling Up HIV-Related Legal Services  

Toolkit: Scaling Up HIV-Related Legal Services  

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