Law 672 - HIV/AIDS Law and Public Policy

Robert Bradley Sears

Robert Bradley Sears

Assistant Dean of Programs and Centers
Executive Director, The Williams Institute
Adjunct Professor
B.A. Yale, 1992
J.D. Harvard, 1995
UCLA Faculty Since 2000
Course Description:

The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the greatest public health crises of the past four decades and has resulted in significant legislation and public policy geared toward both infected and affected communities.   Recent medical developments, a better understanding of HIV transmission, and a purported decrease of HIV-related stigma have put pressure on laws enacted during the 1980s and 1990s to protect the privacy and autonomy of persons living with HIV/AIDS.

This course will explore the evolving legal and ethical landscape of the HIV/AIDS epidemic with a primary focus on U.S. and California HIV law and policy, and the legal needs of people living with HIV in Los Angeles County.  The course will also examine the relationship between individual rights and public health and the ways in which race, class, gender, and sexual orientation continue to impact the response to the epidemic. Topics covered include HIV testing, confidentiality, and reporting; mandatory and voluntary partner notification programs; criminalization of HIV exposure; medical treatment including pre/post-exposure prophylaxis; access to health care and health insurance; reproductive rights; and anti-discrimination law.  The course will consider how the law can either create, or be used to overcome, obstacles to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support.

Students will have the opportunity to choose a topic for inquiry, conduct an in-class presentation, and draft a 20-page paper.  This paper may satisfy the law school writing requirement.  Students are also encouraged to participate in an externship with the Los Angeles HIV Law and Policy Project, a legal services collaborative serving PLWH located on the UCLA Law campus.