Legal Aid Clinic Launched In Kerala
On March 3rd 2011 the Legal Aid Clinic was launched in Kerala and the programme which included the Workshop on HIV, AIDS and Legal aspects for all the hon’ble judges and judicial officers, was inaugurated by Hon’ble Chief Justice of High Court of Kerala, Jasti Chelameswar. Dr. K Shylaja (Project Director, Kerala SACS) presented the HIV scenario of Kerala and the background of Legal Aid Clinic. A panel of experts consisting of Dr. K. Shylaja, Dr. T.V Velayudhan (Add. Project Director, Kerala SACS), Dr. M. Prasanna Kumar (Team leader, TSU) interacted with the audience on HIV/AIDS and legal aspects. Adv. R. Ratna Thara spoke on the Legal problems faced by PLHIV. Ms Anjana (Coordinator GIPA) narrated on the Common issues of PLHIV in Kerala.
The estimate for Kerala shows 40060 People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) and display low prevalence on the HIV epidemic map in the country. The state is highly vulnerable due to bordering high prevalence states, heavy in and out migration, unsafe sexual practices. High social and health indices of the state have contributed in stabilizing the epidemic.
Under care and support programme in NACPIII, NACO gave directions to all states to set up Legal Aid Clinic for providing free legal services to the people living with HIV AIDS. Accordingly, KSACS liaises with KELSA for implementing this service for Kerala. KSACS organized workshops with advocates as suggested by KELSA and developed a draft guideline for establishing Legal Aid Clinic in the 14 districts of the State. KSACS and KELSA organised two-day consultative workshop on legal services and potential legal aid services for People Living with HIV/AIDS in Kerala.
Since Legal Aid Clinic has been launched, PLHIV who need legal aid can contact the ART centres concerned, which will help them.