Roe v. US Dept of Defense is a federal lawsuit brought by Lambda Legal and Modern Military Association of America challenging the Pentagon’s discriminatory policies, which prevent service members living with HIV from deploying to most locations outside the United States.

GLAD served as counsel along with Kevin J. Minnick and Adam K. Lloyd on a friend-of-the-court brief submitted by AIDS United, The American Public Health Association, Duke Law Health Justice Clinic, Southern AIDS Coalition, The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, and NMAC, that details the persistence of HIV-related stigma and how the military’s policy is unscientific, unjust and undermines both military strength and public health.

From the introduction:

“HIV-related stigma and discrimination are fueled by deeply ingrained prejudice against the groups disproportionately affected by the epidemic, including gay men, people who inject drugs, and people of color, as well as widespread ignorance about the nature and risk of HIV transmission.”

“[M]edical advances have transformed HIV into a chronic, controlled health condition that no longer  leads to debilitation. HIV-related stigma persists nonetheless.”

“The amici submit this brief to bring the Court’s attention to the history and manifestations of HIV-related stigma and the stigmatizing impact of the military’s HIV policies, which are not limited to the lives and careers of qualified and patriotic servicemembers.  The military’s HIV policies—including the irrational “deployability” argument advanced here—reflect and perpetuate stigma based on outdated perceptions of prognosis and transmission risks.”

“The amici urge this Court to affirm the district court’s preliminary injunction to ensure fair treatment and to prevent enforcement of an unscientific policy that undermines public health.”