A 13 year old Pennsylvania boy has allegedly been denied admission to the Milton Hershey School, which I think is located about two hours south west of Philadelphia.
The boy filed a lawsuit against the school, allegedly because the rejection is solely based on his HIV status.
Here’s part of what the school said:
In order to protect our children in this unique environment, we cannot accommodate the needs of students with chronic communicable diseases that pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others.The reason is simple. We are serving children, and no child can be assumed to always make responsible decisions which protect the well-being of others.
That is why, after careful review and analysis, we determined we could not put our children at risk.
I’d just like to comment on one thing, if this is true. Where have these people at the Milton Hershey School been for the past thirty years? The HIV virus cannot be transmitted through casual contact. There has to be an exchange of bodily fluids, usually through sexual contact. In other words, no one at any school anywhere is going to be infected with the HIV virus with any 13 year old HIV+ kid unless they share a needle with him or have sex with him. Both are against the law. You can’t get it by drinking out of the same glass, sharing a dorm room, or shaking a hand. The ways in which people are infected with HIV are distinct and isolated. Allegedly, the 13 year old boy in question has been HIV+ since birth.
You can read more about HIV transmission here. And nowhere is there any mention of transmitting HIV through normal, casual contact.
This is the kind of thing that we need to focus on more all over the world, not just in some backward town in Pennsylvania. (My own state embarrasses me once again one month after the Penn State/Sandusky scandal.) There’s still such a strong stigma associated with HIV, not to mention so many falsehoods, it makes life harder for those who have it, and it sends out the wrong signals to young people.