Law, Courts and Power Dynamics in the Context of HIV/AIDS - A Case Study of Taiwan


  • Chunyuan Lin


HIV/AIDS related stigma sometimes generates discrimination and social violence against people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA); therefore, whether the law shields them from an unreasonable invasion of their rights is a critical indication of the law’s function in rendering social justice. In Taiwan, despite the fact that the HIV/AIDS Regulatory Act has made progress in protecting the rights of PLWHA since the 1990s, discrimination remains. It is important to inquire how law evolves when social discrimination has prevailed, and whether the progress of legislation eliminates social discrimination and empowers PLWHAs in HIV-related disputes in the courts. This article explores the dynamics between social powers, law and courts, with a focus on the legal progress, court rulings, and the suffering of PLWHA in Taiwan. This article puts forward the following arguments: firstly, that the legal progress on HIV law is a product of elite-led social movement rather than a social consensus; and secondly, that courts reproduce social stigma and reinforce the social exclusion of PLWHA.