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Advocacy

We have a track record of forming sound policy to advance the dignity, opportunity, and well-being of people facing chronic, disabling and stigmatized health and social conditions. In the last decade alone, our programs have actively participated in every major Medicaid expansion in Illinois with a focus on children, seniors, and persons with disabilities.

Individuals with HIV-AIDS

The AIDS Legal Council  program advocates for fair treatment for persons with HIV, voluntary and informed HIV testing, and expanded access to programs that enable clients to meet their health and living needs. We work with a broad range of community partners to educate policymakers about the rights of people with HIV. We press for changes that will facilitate access to vital care and services that people impacted by HIV need and increase engagement in treatment and the continuum of care. AIDS Legal Council also litigates cases and files “friend of the court” briefs on issues impacting people with HIV and their service providers. Here are a handful of highlights:

  • Protected rights of Illinois residents to voluntary HIV testing with pre-test prevention counseling and informed consent.
  • Protected confidentiality rights of persons with HIV by working to increase penalties for unauthorized disclosures of their HIV status.
  • Advocated for AIDS Drug Assistance Program (ADAP) re-certification process to allow the nearly 10,000 individuals on ADAP to have easier access to their medications.
  • Repeal of state’s quarter century-old, discriminatory HIV principal notification law.
  • With the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, our advocacy, in concert with AIDS Foundation of Chicago and a pro bono partnership with Jenner & Block, resulted in a state-issued prohibition against discrimination against people with HIV in health insurance plans to insurers doing business in Illinois.

Children and Youth

One of the first medical-legal partnerships for children in the nation, the Chicago Medical-Legal Partnership for Children program has a track record of successful advocacy for children and youth with special needs. Policy development arises from our collaborations with clinicians to provide “legal care” direct services to children and families. We firmly believe our policy initiatives are stronger, our collaborations are broader, because they are informed by the real life experiences and issues of the people they are directed to assist.