Discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS in the United States remains prevalent, according to a survey released last week by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Based on data collected through interviews with 43 community AIDS service providers over the last two years, “HIV & Civil Rights: A Report from the Frontlines of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic,” found that people with HIV/AIDS in the US (an estimated 900,000 individuals) continue to suffer discrimination in all arenas of life, including when seeking medical services, employment, housing, and parental rights.
Leslie Cooper, a staff attorney with the ACLU‘s AIDS Project explained, “Stigma and ignorance continue to hound people with this disease, even though we now know you can’t get HIV through casual contact.” according to an ACLU press release. The ACLU survey describes specific instances of abuse, including the case of Priscilla Doe-a Nebraska woman who lost her job at a restaurant and was later mistreated at her second job after employers discovered she was HIV-positive, reported PlanetOut.com. The ACLU last week filed a state court lawsuit on Ms. Doe’s behalf against her first employer, alleging the restaurant owner violated a state law banning discrimination in employment based on HIV. A lawsuit was also filed in federal court against Casey’s General Stores, Inc., accusing the establishment of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and state anti-discrimination laws.