Commentary & Opinion
HIV/AIDS Should Not Be "Barrier" to Peace Corps Service, Editorial Says
May 6, 2008
HIV/AIDS should not be a "barrier" to serving in the Peace Corps, a Washington Post editorial says in response to a recent article by Post columnist Stephen Barr about the organization's policy regarding HIV-positive volunteers (Washington Post, 5/6).
According to Johnson, the Peace Corps' decision to end his assignment violates federal anti-discrimination laws. He was referred to the American Civil Liberties Union, which recently wrote to the agency's director, Ronald Tschetter. Peace Corps Press Director Amanda Beck said that Tschetter plans to respond to ACLU (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 4/29).
Although Beck has said that the Peace Corps does not have a policy of "automatically excluding people with HIV," the "fact remains" that Johnson was "booted from the Peace Corps because of his diagnosis," the editorial says. In addition, while Ukraine's policies regarding HIV-positive workers are "misguided and discriminatory, they cannot excuse the U.S. government," according to the Post. HIV "should not be a barrier to public service," the editorial says, adding, "Making it so, as in Mr. Johnson's case, is a waste of talent and goodwill." The editorial concludes that with all of the Peace Corps' "work in dealing with HIV/AIDS around the world, the agency should know that" (Washington Post, 5/6).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.