Access to Therapy Pool Denied to Veteran Due to HIV Status, Lawsuit Claims

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A U.S. veteran of the war in Iraq was denied access to an aquatic therapy pool because of her HIV status, according to a lawsuit filed on the veteran's behalf by the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania (ALP).

Bonnie Jones, a pseudonym used by the plaintiff to protect her privacy, was scheduled for physical therapy at the OSS Orthopaedic Hospital in York, Pennsylvania, for chronic conditions caused by wearing a bulletproof vest for a long period of time. During her initial hospital evaluation she disclosed her HIV status. When she returned a week later for physical therapy, a therapist told her that she would not be allowed in the pool because of her HIV status. HIV is not transmitted by sharing swimming or exercise facilities. A number of other patients were present at the time and overheard this disclosure of her status.

The lawsuit is asking the facility to adopt an anti-discrimination policy and to provide HIV training to staff, as well as for compensatory and punitive damages for Jones. It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on June 23, according to a press release by ALP, which is representing Jones.