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Legal Guide Released to Tackle HIV/AIDS Stigma and Discrimination

South Africa has over the years developed a progressive legal and policy framework to protect human rights for all people living with HIV and AIDS. However continued stigma and discrimination often remain barriers to accessing treatment and efforts to fight the epidemic must be accompanied by a solid commitment to respecting the human rights enshrined in our Constitution.

A new handbook, published by LexisNexis South Africa, aims to facilitate easy access to the law relating to HIV and AIDS in South Africa. This, it is hoped, will aid in fighting injustice against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.

HIV and the Law in South Africa: A Practitioner’s Guide includes extensive contributions from a number of the foremost practitioners and theorists in the field. It is edited by leading law, public health and human rights champion, Amelia Vukeya Motsepe.

While aimed at legal practitioners working in this crucial area of public law, the book’s simple, user-friendly approach is also set to appeal to NGOs, charities, healthcare professionals and students of law and medicine.

Writing the foreword for HIV and the Law in South Africa: A Practitioner’s Guide, Constitutional Court of South Africa Justice Edwin Cameron said lawyers had played a significant role in protecting and promoting human rights and justice for people living with HIV and those affected.

“Clients with HIV turn to lawyers when their privacy has been violated, their bodies bruised, their rights trampled on, their medical needs denied. Serving these clients effectively demands knowledge of areas of law that probably remain unfamiliar to many lawyers, particularly those in private practice,” he said.

Moreover, the South African legal fraternity’s growing culture of pro bono work now sees attorneys supplementing standard commercial work with human rights volunteerism in which they fight against injustice and inequality on behalf of the vulnerable within society.

This means that in order to promote transformation in this space, the legal profession, including the judiciary, must be suitably trained and empowered around human rights related issues pertaining to HIV/AIDS.

HIV and the Law in South Africa: A Practitioner’s Guide aims to help role-players navigate this complex terrain, through a comprehensive taxonomy covering: Constitutional, Legislative and Policy Framework on HIV in South Africa; HIV Testing, Confidentiality and Informed Consent; Access to Health Care Services for People Living with HIV; The Management of HIV in the Workplace; Insurance Law and HIV; Social Grants (Support) for People Living with HIV; Women and HIV: Protecting the Health and Rights of Women and Girls; Children and HIV: Safeguarding the Rights and Interests of Children; The Rights of Inmates Living with HIV: Access to Treatment and Prevention; Access to health Care For Foreign Nationals; Wrongful Transmission of HIV: Criminal and Civil law Perspective; and The Science and Medicine of HIV.

The book is supported by LexisNexis South Africa in line with the company’s global purpose of helping clients to uphold the Rule of Law.

About the Editor

Amelia Vukeya Motsepe has extensive consulting experience in Law, governance, public health and human rights. She was previously employed as an Assistant Program Manager at the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa’s (OSISA) HIV and AIDS program and the Law and Health Coordinator for the Open Society Foundation’s Public Health Programme. Her work included managing the OSISA /LAHI Core Grant Initiative, a multi-year initiative to provide institutional support and capacity strengthening to six leading law, HIV and AIDS and human rights organisations in Southern Africa. Amelia holds a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of the Witwatersrand and a Master of Laws degree (“LLM”) from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington D.C, U.S. (“Georgetown”).