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The European HIV Legal Forum

The mission of AIDS Action Europe’s European HIV Legal Forum (EHLF) is to develop effective means of improving access to HIV prevention, counselling and testing, treatment, care and support for all those who have limited access to HIV services due to legal obstacles, through the united efforts of legal and policy experts with the aim of bringing into effect a rights-based approach to health as adopted by the European Commission.

In 2012, following growing interest within the AAE Steering Committee and the broader AAE network for mutual support and joint action on legal issues related to HIV, AAE developed the first steps towards the EHLF, which began with a pilot project initiated by five AAE member organisations (the ‘EHLF partners’) in Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.

The pilot focused on the legal situation affecting access to healthcare of migrants in an irregular situation (also known as ‘undocumented migrants’) who are living with HIV since it was felt by all five EHLF partners that there was an urgent need to act on this issue. A survey was devised by the EHLF partners and rolled out in the partners’ countries. The results provided valuable insights into differences in health systems in the five countries and its effects on access to treatment and services for irregular migrants. By documenting the legal situation, providing a comparative analysis of each country’s laws and how they were applied, the survey report identified good practice and innovative solutions consistent with international human rights, acting as a catalyst for change where practice remains poor.

In 2014 following a successful grant application to ViiV Positive Action, the EHLF network was enlarged by adding 5 additional countries and replacing one member that was not responding to our inquiries. (France, Germany, Greece, Poland, Spain and Serbia). During the project phase 2014-2015 the survey was developed and redone in all 10 countries and an analysis and comparison of the legal situation and a collection of European and international legislation and case law was produced. EHLF members collected good practice materials in the field of treatment and right literacy for migrants and based on the results of the legal survey an advocacy tool was prepared that is used at different event and conferences where the work of EHLF is presented. Cooperation with organizations and networks working in the field were established or strengthened both at the national and European level.

Contact person: 
Ferenc Bagyinszky - AIDS Action Europe
Lead Partner: 
AIDS Action Europe
Associated Partners: 
AIDeS – France; Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe (DAH) – Germany; PRAKSIS – Greece; Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) – Hungary; LILA Milano – Italy; SOA Aids Nederland - the Netherlands; SIEĆ PLUS – Poland; Q-Club – Serbia; CALCSICOVA – Spain; National AIDS Trust (NAT) - the United Kingdom
Project objectives: 
The EHLF has three main objectives: 1. To monitor and review HIV-relevant legislation across the region, producing comparative legal intelligence, analysis and recommendations of legal options to further the rights of people living with or affected by HIV. 2. To create better and more strategic links between local, national and regional stakeholders, including HIV NGOs and non-HIV legal specialists and support organisations (including human rights NGOs and pro bono lawyers) to: • promote the rights of people living with HIV, and key affected populations; • develop capacity in engaging with legal processes and in education work for both professionals and for people living with HIV regarding legal rights; • assist with the implementation of rights-based European policies at national/local level. 3. To produce locally relevant resources, including best practice guidance for healthcare workers, advocacy tools for NGOs, and legal and rights literacy for people living with HIV, on how best to advocate for, litigate and achieve rights-based legal protections to support and empower people living with HIV and key affected populations.
The pilot phase of the project produced a legal survey report from 5 European countries (Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). The 2014-2015 project phase has produced a comparative legal report based on legal survey from 10 European countries (France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Serbia, Spain and the United Kingdom). The legal report also includes a collection of main international regulations in favour of the right to healthcare, leading European laws related to the right to healthcare and European case law. This project phase also produced an advocacy tool and a collection of good practices.
Duration of Project: 
2012- ongoing
Output / Materials produced: 
Final report - 2013 Legal report - 2015 Advocacy tool - 2015 Collection of good practices - 2015 Poster for EUPHA 6th European Conference on Migrant Health (Oslo, Norway, June 23-25, 2016)
EU Project: 

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