Protest to end HIV stigma.
Hershey retail store in Times Square
March 7th, 2012.
48th and Broadway
New York, NY
School Rejects HIV-Positive Student
According to the Associated Press (Claim: Hershey School Rejects HIV-Positive Pa. Boy, By Peter Jackson, 12/1/11): “A private boarding school connected with the Hershey chocolate company says it was trying to protect other students when it denied admission to a Philadelphia-area teenager because he is HIV-positive. The AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit on behalf of the unidentified boy in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia on Wednesday, claiming the Milton Hershey School for disadvantaged students violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. School officials acknowledged that the 13-year-old boy was denied admission because of his medical condition. They said they believed it was necessary to protect the health and safety of the 1,850 others enrolled in the residential institution, which serves children in pre-kindergarten to 12th grade and where students live in homes with 10 to 12 others.”
Reuters reported that “The school said it planned to ask a federal judge to weigh-in on their decision, but attorneys for the boy and his mother “took the adversarial action of filing a lawsuit,” McNamara said.
The child’s attorneys at the non-profit AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania sought to compare the school’s actions to the Ryan White case, in which an HIV-positive Indiana boy was expelled from middle school in the 1980s because of the infection. That case led to the Ryan White Care Act of 1990.
Federal and state laws prohibit discrimination on the basis of a real or perceived disability, including having HIV, according to the National Association of State Boards of Education.
“Like Ryan White, this young man is a motivated, intelligent kid who poses no health risk to other students, but is being denied an educational opportunity because of ignorance and fear about HIV and AIDS,” said AIDS Law Project Executive Director Ronda B. Goldfein, who is representing the boy and his mother in the lawsuit.
The boy “is an honor roll student and an avid athlete” who controls his HIV through a regimen of medication that does not impact his school schedule, according to the lawsuit filed with the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia.”
AHF Launches Campaign Against AIDS Discrimination at Hershey School (12/16/11)
Boycott all hershey candy
Do not buy any hershey candy until the company speak out against AIDS discrimination at the Milton Hershey School and facilitates the boy’s enrollment at the school. Send a message to Hershey that AIDS discrimination is NOT acceptable. SIGN THE PETITION.
End HIV stigma
End blatant HIV/AIDS discrimination at Milton Hershey School
People with HIV do not pose a significant risk to others and generally do not require any special medical attention that cannot be obtained through normal medical visits. HIV can only be transmitted by contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluid or breast milk infected with the disease. HIV is not airborne and cannot be caught by touching skin, sweat or saliva. This means that holding hands, sharing drinking glasses, open-mouthed kissing and other casual contact cannot spread HIV.
Recent studies have shown that people with HIV on AIDS treatment are up to 96% non-infectious. Because of this, those on treatment are not a threat to health and safety of others.
Hershey has displayed a shocking lack of knowledge of the basic facts about HIV and how it is spread, and instead are reacting with ignorance and prejudice.
“We are morally outraged by the blatant discrimination shown by the Hershey School in this case. As the largest global AIDS organization, we did not feel like AHF could stand by without offering support to AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania and the suit they have filed on behalf of the student,” said Michael Weinstein, President of AIDS Healthcare Foundation. “The ignorance displayed by the Hershey School’s leadership is unacceptable and demonstrates just how much work there is still to be done to dismantle the fear and misinformation that still surrounds this disease more than 25 years after Ryan White.”
Ryan White was an American teenager from Kokomo, Indiana who, in the mid-1980s, was expelled from middle school because he was HIV-positive. A lengthy legal battle with the school ensued and White became a galvanizing force in educating the country about HIV & AIDS at a time when misinformation about the disease was widespread. After his death in 1990, the U.S. Congress passed a major piece of legislation named in his honor, the Ryan White CARE Act, which provides funding for HIV/AIDS programs for low-income American.
Hershey Protest – WGAL News 8 at 5-00 pm — Harrisburg, Pennsylvania (2/1/12)
More info about the protest on their Facebook page.