DO I HAVE A CASE?
May 12, 2006
Hi Dr Frascino,
Firstly, thank you for all the good work that you do.
My question is both on legal and medical fronts.
My son is a college student, 21 years old, and 2 months ago found out he was HIV positive. He acquired it through protected intercourse, however he was unlucky in that the condom broke without him knowing - he was a 'bottom' ie the receptive partner. He is gay obviously.
He has been actively gay since he was 17 and his friends came to accept and support it as did his family.
Prior to his diagnosis he was a valued member of the swim and rugby teams at university. Somehow his status was revealed to the head of sport at his college.
This man took my son aside and informed him that 'perhaps you should consider a different sport to play at college'
When my son asked why, he responded with: 'there is the potential for transmission of your ilness in both sports'.
I can understand this comment in rugby. There is contact in the tackles and rucks and mauls. But swimming? Even if my son did bleed in the pool, wouldn't the chlorine kill the virus immediately?
OK, my questions. 1) Can he legally do this? 2) What are the chances of transmission in both scenarios, if any?
I would rather not resort to litigation due to the cost, but I would like an expert opinion just to scare him.
PS will make a donation.
Response from Dr. Frascino
I'm sorry to hear about your son's recent diagnosis.
First, to specifically answer your questions:
1. No. Discrimination is illegal.
2. Essentially nonexistent.
I would suggest you write a letter to the president of the college and chair of the board of trustees, apprising them of the situation. Mention "discrimination," "possible legal action" and the fact you've consulted with an HIV specialist physician and they will undoubtedly bring the issue up with their legal counsel (no charge to you). Ultimately, the "head of sports" at your son's college should be reprimanded and write a letter of apology to your son. It could also be an excellent opportunity to also insist that HIV/AIDS-awareness education be revisited at you son's college at all levels professors, administrators and students. Let me know how this plays out. I am a trustee at a liberal arts college (Oberlin College) and know for a fact this type of discriminatory behavior would not be tolerated there.
Please give your son a hug from me.
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