Intake Line:  (310) 794-7367
The History of LA HLPP
After HIV & AIDS Legal Services Alliance ("HALSA"), the dedicated provider of HIV legal services in Los Angeles County (“LAC”), closed its doors in 2012, a group of concerned leaders came together.  LA HLPP was formed as a collaborative to address the unmet legal needs of people living with HIV (“PLWH”) and to conduct research to address HIV-related policies and legislation.

 

Partners

Each partner provides unmatched expertise in the areas of community legal services for PLWH, pro bono lawyer referral recruitment, coordination, and HIV law and policy research.  The collective mission of LA HLPP is to provide a single, centralized intake line to connect low-income PLWH to no cost legal consultation and advice, and referral, when possible, to meaningful legal assistance and representation.  This is achieved through partnership between LA HLPP’s legal staff at UCLA School of Law, UCLA law student volunteers, scholars and researchers at the Williams Institute, and a network of legal services providers including ICLC and Bet Tzedek and several hundred private bar attorneys volunteering for ALSP.  Through its direct service work, the project is able to effectively inform current policy debates regarding issues of HIV and the law.

 

Serving Angelenos

In Los Angeles County, the second largest community of PLWH in the United States, almost 65% of the estimated 60,000 individuals living with HIV are people of color.  At 77%, the primary mode of HIV transmission includes men who acquire HIV through having sex with other men.  While Latinos carry the greatest HIV disease burden in LAC, Black communities are most disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS.  Communities who are disproportionately impacted by HIV are often in the worst positions to address the continued stigma and discrimination associated with HIV and/or AIDS.  This is due to the additional burdens of navigating existing social and structural barriers resulting from poverty, hunger, homelessness, inadequate health care, racial/ethnic discrimination, homophobia and transphobia.


Unmet Legal Needs of People Living with HIV

To better understand these needs, WI completed a comprehensive needs assessment of PLWH in LAC in April, 2015.  Through interviewing mostly low-income PLWH throughout LAC, the study determined that 98% of individuals experienced a legal need in the year prior to the survey, only 16% of individuals received legal assistance with their most recent legal need, and affordability and awareness of legal services was a barrier to accessing assistance.  Participants of the study reported that as a result of unmet legal needs, they experienced difficulty carrying on normal life (70%), stress-related illness (59%), physical ill health (25%), difficulty keeping medical appointments (19%), loss of income or financial difficulty (19%), and difficulty taking medications (17%).  The most common legal issues identified as areas of need included lack of testamentary documents and advance health care directives (85%), consumer law including debtor/creditor matters (49%), health care access (47%), housing (42%), public benefits (30%), criminal law matters (28%), HIV-related discrimination (21%) and immigration (19%).  Immigration was an area of legal need for a significant subgroup of the study—93% of those who identified a legal need in immigration identified as Hispanic, Latino or of Spanish origin.


Our Work

LA HLPP is committed to addressing the social and legal needs of the diverse LAC communities impacted by HIV and/or AIDS.  The project has found success in achieving this mission through implementing three key strategies:  (1) providing access to legal services and referrals for other social services to PLWH via a centralized intake line; (2) conducting community outreach and education to PLWH and their medical and social service providers; and (3) engaging in client-informed, evidence-based law and policy advocacy on behalf of PLWH.