CUNY Law Impact: Christa Douaihy

For Christa Douaihy (’08), the roots of her HIV/AIDS justice work go deep, back to the early 1990s in Scranton, PA.

“At that time, the AIDS crisis was still acute,” remembers Douaihy. So was public panic and misunderstanding about the disease and its transmission. “Deep societal ills of racism, homophobia, and fear fueled the AIDS stigma,” she observed.

Douaihy, still in high school at the time, along with her twin sister, Margot, and some friends, decided to get Red Cross-certified as peer educators on HIV/AIDS. They went to classrooms and community centers to help reduce hatred and bring more compassion. At the same time, she educated peers on how to prevent transmission of the virus.

“Ever since high school, participation in the HIV/AIDS justice movement has been a driving force in my life, a source of inspiration, and a focal point of my law practice,” says Douaihy, who has worked for Legal Services of the Hudson Valley, representing clients with HIV/AIDS in Westchester County. In law school, she interned at Gay Men’s Health Crisis and worked with many CUNY Law alumni.

Now an attorney with the Civil Action Practice at The Bronx Defenders, Douaihy leads one of the group’s interdisciplinary teams that defends clients after arrest or conviction and supports them in the often ensuing fallout, which may include loss of a job or occupational license, eviction, or loss of government benefits.

By Paul Lin

Read more here.