Scott Schoettes

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Scott A. Schoettes, who lives openly with HIV, is Counsel and the HIV Project Director at Lambda Legal, the oldest national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.

Schoettes litigates impact cases involving discriminatory denial of employment and services based on a person’s HIV status, as well as in the areas of HIV criminalization, access to care and privacy. In 2014, he successfully led the legal team that halted attempts by insurers in Louisiana to prevent lower-income people living with HIV from enrolling in their plans during the roll-out of the Affordable Care Act (East v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana, et al). In May 2018, Schoettes sued the Department of Defense, challenging its discriminatory personnel policies that prevent people living with HIV from enlisting, deploying or serving as officers in the U.S. military (Harrison v. Mattis).

In addition, Schoettes also does a significant amount of amicus work on issues of import to people living with HIV, notably twice co-authoring amicus briefs in the U.S. Supreme Court’s review of the Affordable Care Act.

On the policy side, Schoettes was the point person for Lambda Legal’s work on the repeal of the HIV travel ban, is committed to ending the blanket ban on blood donation by gay and bisexual men, and has served as legal adviser and bill co-author in two successful campaigns to reform laws criminalizing conduct based on HIV status. He currently is working to bring similar changes to multiple other states.

In September 2014, Schoettes was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on the Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS (PACHA). On that body, Schoettes co-chaired the Disparities Committee, which focused on HIV-related health inequities for women, including transgender women, gay and bisexual men of color, young people, people living with HIV in the South and others.

In June 2016, Schoettes led a group resignation from PACHA. The op-ed he wrote criticizing the Trump Administration for its apathy and inaction with respect to the on-going HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S. set off a media firestorm that forced the administration to start paying greater attention to the issue.

Schoettes graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown Law and clerked for the Honorable J. Frederick Motz (U.S.D.C. Md.)