People with HIV can lose more than their health. Once diagnosed, they may struggle to keep jobs, friends, public benefits--even their homes or custody of their children.
Ask Doug Parvis, a second-year law student, and Michelle Salomon, a clinical law fellow, who are part of UM Carey Law's Health Care Delivery and Child Welfare Legal Issues Clinic. The Clinic--founded in 1987 to address the full range of legal challenges facing HIV patients--recently joined forces with other professional students and programs across campus to boost service to Baltimore's HIV community.
This summer, for instance, the Clinic launched a partnership with the University of Maryland Medical School's JACQUES Initiative which provides holistic care and a "safe place" to urban populations infected with HIV. Together with students from the university's other professional schools, they offered a day of free HIV services, including legal advice, at five locations across Baltimore.
A month later, clinic students were volunteering again, this time at Project Homeless Connect, which drew more than 1,000 low-income and homeless people to Baltimore's M&T Bank stadium for health, housing and employment services.
"People living with HIV face complex medical and legal challenges without simple solutions," Parvis and Salomon argue. "It takes an interdisciplinary approach to fully treat someone living with HIV." The next generation of lawyers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists and social workers face a sobering question, they believe: "What can we do within our professions to help reduce the stigma and increase access to care and services?"