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Advocacy Against Stigma

LGBTQ+ Rights

About This Case

In this challenging ordeal, Nick Harrison's expertise in military law and advocacy is highlighted through his campaign against the U.S. military's discriminatory HIV policies, focusing on legal challenges, policy reform, and rights advocacy for HIV-positive service members.

Nick Harrison spearheaded a groundbreaking campaign to challenge the U.S. military’s discriminatory HIV policies. This multifaceted effort involved engaging with HIV activists, rallying bipartisan support on Capitol Hill, and partnering with major legal organizations. The campaign culminated in a federal court challenge, significantly impacting the military’s approach to HIV-positive service members and setting a precedent for equal treatment.


Harrison faced the formidable task of overturning the Department of Defense’s outdated policies, which unfairly restricted the deployment and career advancement of HIV-positive service members.


The military’s policies on HIV-positive service members were widely viewed as outdated, neglecting advances in medical science and the reality of HIV treatment. These policies not only stigmatized HIV-positive service members but also limited their career opportunities within the military.


1. Building Awareness and Support

Harrison actively engaged with HIV activists and shared personal experiences to shed light on the stigma and injustice faced by HIV-positive service members. He distributed informational packets and met with legislative aides on Capitol Hill, garnering support from both sides of the political spectrum.

2. Leveraging Legal Advocacy

Recognizing the need for a legal challenge, Harrison collaborated with Lambda Legal, ultimately agreeing to serve as a plaintiff in a federal court case. This decision marked a significant step in his commitment to advocating for policy change.

3. Confronting Policy Changes

Harrison contended against the “Deploy or Get Out” policy, which threatened the careers of many HIV-positive service members. His legal challenge aimed to undermine the rationale behind such discriminatory policies.


The campaign led to a pivotal change in the military’s approach to HIV-positive service members. The legal challenge, supported by Harrison’s advocacy and partnerships with key organizations, brought about a crucial reevaluation of the military’s policies. This effort not only achieved legal success but also set a new standard for the fair treatment of HIV-positive individuals in the military, promoting a more inclusive and scientifically-informed approach to personnel policies​​​​.

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