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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update

HIV Positive Man Sues Center


Detroit News (08.20.03) - Tuesday, August 26, 2003

A man in Wayne County, Mich., is suing an Ypsilanti nonprofit agency, HIV/AIDS Resource Center, for publishing an annual report with his picture and identifying him as HIV- positive. The man, to whom the lawsuit refers as "John Doe," worked at HARC as a volunteer two years ago, during which time the company published the report over which he is suing.

"You can't disclose that type of information," said his attorney, Vanessa G. Fluker of Southfield, Mich. Her client wants to be compensated for "the ridicule and [ostracism] that he's now experienced in the community because of the negative stigma associated with this condition," she said.

Jimena Loveluck, president and CEO of HARC, said the group takes confidentiality seriously and does not release medical information. She did not comment on the lawsuit.

A group of volunteers founded HARC in 1986. The nonprofit provides HIV/AIDS-related services to residents in Jackson, Lenawee, Livingston and Wastenaw counties.

The Michigan legislature has passed several laws since 1986 regarding HIV, hepatitis and other diseases. The state's HIV confidentiality laws require that all information related to HIV/AIDS be confidential, including whether or not a person has been tested, according to the Michigan Advocates Exchange.

"It's not a very well-known law," said Kendra Kleber, director of legal services for the exchange, which serves HIV/AIDS patients. "The stigma is still so bad that I think people are not surprised to learn that they should not be talking about someone else's HIV status."


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Information in this article was accurate in August 26, 2003. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.