A teen with HIV has been barred from a private school in Pennsylvania, because of what his attorney calls ignorance and fear.
Milton Hershey, which educates low-income and socially disadvantaged students for free, is denying this honor student and athlete admission based solely on his medical condition.
The school claims this discrimination is necessary to protect the health and safety of other students, but the teen's attorney points out that his condition poses no risks to other students.
She’s right, according to the CDC, which clearly states that HIV is not transmitted through casual contact. And the school is very wrong to discriminate, says the Americans with Disabilities Act, which reaffirmed in 2008 that HIV is a disability entitled to accommodation by public and private schools.
Not only is Hershey School’s action cruel and morally wrong; it’s against the law. Tell Milton Hershey to change its discriminatory policy on HIV.
We, the undersigned, are surprised than an educational institution would act in such an uninformed way regarding HIV.
A quick check of the CDC’s website concerning transmission of HIV reveals the following and more: (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/qa/transmission.htm)
“HIV is not transmitted by day-to-day contact in the workplace, schools, or social settings. HIV is not transmitted through shaking hands, hugging, or a casual kiss. You cannot become infected from a toilet seat, a drinking fountain, a door knob, dishes, drinking glasses, food, or pets.
HIV is not an airborne or food-borne virus, and it does not live long outside the body.”
Not only is your school wrong, in several ways, to discriminate against this student based solely on his medical condition, but it is promoting further ignorance and discrimination against those with HIV through its bad example.
We request that you educate yourselves about HIV, admit this student to your school and end all discrimination against those who are HIV positive.