Practice Areas

Identification Documents and Name Changes

Obtaining identification documents is often a circular path.  To get a birth certificate, you need a Social Security card. To get a Social Security card, you need photo ID. To get photo ID, you need a birth certificate. Fortunately, a lawyer, using their own photo ID and attorney’s license, may order a birth certificate for a…

Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney

Wills, living wills and powers of attorney are three important legal documents. They make sure that your wishes for you and your belongings will be followed if you die or become too sick to speak for yourself. Without these documents, family and friends are often left not knowing what to do. We know it is…

Public and Private Benefits: Income Replacement and Health Care

More than a 25 percent of the clients who come to the AIDS Law Project are looking for some form of public or private health insurance as the road to health care.  As HIV has become for many people, a chronic, manageable condition, the key is access to health care and medications. The AIDS Law…

Standby Guardianship

No question haunts a parent living with HIV/AIDS as much as, “Who will care for my children if I can’t?” Long-term stability is critical to the healthy development of children. Pennsylvania’s Standby Guardianship law, which the AIDS Law Project authored, helps terminally ill parents make permanency plans for the future care of their children. A…

Immigration

Immigrants, non-immigrants and undocumented aliens who are living with HIV or AIDS face complicated legal issues. The good news is that HIV is no longer an automatic exclusion to entering the U.S. or obtaining legal permanent residency. Beginning in 2010, HIV is no longer an “excludable” condition under the immigration laws. This means that people…

Housing and Utilities

Landlord/Tenant Issues Tenants have the right to the quiet enjoyment of their residences, and the obligation to pay rent to the landlord. Similarly, the landlord has the obligation to provide a safe and secure premises and the right to collect rent. Tenants unable to afford to pay rent should contact a case manager to inquire…

Testing Protocols

THE PENNSYLVANIA CONFIDENTIALITY OF HIV-RELATED INFORMATION ACT (Act 148), as amended In 1988, the Pennsylvania legislature passed the Confidentiality of HIV-Related Information Act, (commonly known as Act 148) to prevent unauthorized HIV testing and disclosure of HIV-related information without an individual’s consent.  In 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued recommendations designed…

Criminalization of HIV

Even as HIV has become a chronic medical condition for many, we see an increasing criminal justice threat to people living with HIV. In the United States, criminal law has been used to target people with HIV. Thirty-four states have statutes criminalizing perceived exposure to HIV. Prosecutions have involved allegations of non-disclosure, exposure, or transmission…

Financial and Consumer Debt

Dealing with debt can be stressful and overwhelming, but legal remedies are available to help you. Ignoring your debt can make the problem worse. Creditors can sue you if you do not pay your bills. If they win in court, they can try to take your property, including your house and bank account. In Pennsylvania,…

Discrimination Against People Living with HIV

People living with HIV are entitled to the same rights and opportunities they had when they were seronegative. Federal, state and local law specifically prohibit discrimination against people living with HIV in employment, housing and public accommodations. These laws protect all people living with HIV, including those who may be asymptomatic. People who are regarded…