Civil Rights Division Statement on World AIDS Day 2018
On World AIDS Day 2018, the Department of Justice reaffirms its commitment to ensuring that people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) can enjoy lives free from stigma and discrimination. By enforcing civil rights laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and educating members of the public on their rights and responsibilities under the law, the Department seeks to ensure that the more than one million Americans with HIV and AIDS can live with dignity and respect. In recognizing World AIDS Day 2018, Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, stated:
“The Department of Justice is proud to play a leading role in safeguarding the civil rights of those living with HIV and AIDS. Discriminatory treatment of people with HIV and AIDS is contrary to the law and our nation’s ideals. On this day, the Civil Rights Division reaffirms its commitment to protecting the civil rights of all individuals.”
The Civil Rights Division’s enforcement efforts over the last year have helped ensure that people with HIV and AIDS are not turned away when seeking medical treatment. In December 2017, the Department entered into a settlement agreement with a physician’s office based on allegations that a prospective patient was turned away because she has HIV. The agreement required the practice to train its employees on their obligations under the ADA and to pay $35,000 in damages and civil penalties.
The Department has also focused on combatting the unfounded stereotypes and misinformation about HIV and AIDS that lead to unlawful discrimination. In March 2018, the Department reached a settlement agreement with a correctional facility in Louisiana based on its segregation of a detainee for approximately six months because he has HIV. The agreement ensures that the facility will no longer segregate individuals on the basis of their HIV status. In addition, it requires the adoption of nondiscrimination policies, designation of an ADA coordinator, training, and payment of $27,500 in damages to the complainant.
Further, the Department has continued its efforts to educate people living with HIV and AIDS, businesses, state and local governments, and public employers on rights and responsibilities under the ADA. In the past year, Department staff have met with organizations serving people living with HIV and AIDS in cities nationwide, providing outreach and critical information to affected populations. The Department also provides technical assistance and responds to questions from individuals and covered entities through our ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 (voice) or 800-514-0383 (TTY).
On World AIDS Day 2018, we remember those who have lost their lives to AIDS. In their memory, we will continue the enforcement, education, and outreach efforts that are so vital to the many Americans across our country who are living with HIV and AIDS.
To learn more about the Department’s work, please visit www.ada.gov/hiv.