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Malissa Durham

2014, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Malissa Durham

Malissa Durham

Name of Host Organization: AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania
City, State: Philadelphia
Issue area: AIDS/HIV, Family Law
Sponsors: Norflet Progress Fund

The Project

Malissa provided direct legal representation in family law matters to people living with HIV in Philadelphia and its surrounding counties.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
AIDS diagnoses in this country have not slowed, but people are living longer and fuller lives than they ever could have imagined at the beginning of the epidemic. People with HIV are getting married, having children, and encountering an array of legal issues that come with family creation and dissolution. The client base, predominately people living in poverty, people of color, and members of the LGBT community, is already at a disadvantage when it comes to equal access to the legal system. Once HIV is added to the already intensely emotional realm of family law, justice free of the influence of misinformation and discrimination often seems out of reach. This project will work to eliminate HIV stigma in the family law context and provide people living with HIV sort of stability that makes HIV a manageable chronic illness. This project fills a service gap in the mission of the AIDS Law Project.