In the Army, there is a widespread problem of HIV-positive and LGBTIA+ recruitment prejudice. Because of this situation, the Pentagon and Army are now under fire. However, following a successful campaign earlier this year to loosen long-standing restrictions on service members living with HIV, advocates for LGBTQ rights are fighting to bring about significant improvements.
The long-standing ban on HIV-positive individuals joining the military in the United States is something they want to remove. The long-standing ban on HIV-positive individuals joining the military in the United States is something they want to eliminate. Lambda Legal, a federal lawsuit, was filed on behalf of three HIV-positive people on Thursday to fight this issue.
Who Are The Plaintiffs And Defendants?
As more people have access to treatment and education, the rate of HIV transmission has decreased nationally. Positive tests, however, have increased since 2011 due to tracking HIV in the armed forces. The 2015 edition of the Defense Health Agency’s Medical Surveillance Monthly Report confirmed this. The study finds that men in the Army and Navy have the highest HIV prevalence rates.
The lawsuit claims that the exclusion of recruits who are HIV positive is incompatible with current scientific discoveries, according to Lambda Legal. The primary plaintiffs are three HIV-positive people. One of them is Georgia’s gay police officer Isaiah Wilkins. While attempting to enlist in the Army Reserves, 23-year-old Isaiah Wilkins discovered he had HIV.
The Second features a straight woman with aspirations about becoming a parachute rigger and a transgender lesbian who transitioned out of the military in 2013. Due to their fear of future prejudice, the women are named in the complaint using pseudonyms, as indicated by Lambda Legal.
According to sources, the lawsuit names Minority Veterans of America as a plaintiff and a minority-serving group for active duty and former service personnel. In addition, defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Army Secretary Christine Wormuth are defendants in the lawsuit.
Taking The Extra Policy Out Of Effect
The lawsuit states that the policy was implemented in 1991 before ground-breaking medical advancements were created. HIV was formerly fatal, but with technological advancement and many medical treatments, it is now treatable like any other illness. Most people believe that HIV is a treatable, non-transmittable condition that can be controlled with early diagnosis and the correct care.
A 25-year-old who has HIV and is discovered early and undergoes appropriate treatment has about the comparable life expectancy as a 25-year-old who hasn’t had HIV, according to medical advancements over the past few decades, the complaint claims. Antiretroviral therapy-treated HIV patients have standard survival rates, according to a 2014 study in the Proceedings of the International AIDS Association.
The Latest Developments In The Litigation
The case was submitted Thursday in the Eastern District of Virginia’s federal district court. The events that were witnessed come after the same court’s historic decision in favor of Lambda Legal in April.
According to the ruling, the Pentagon must now permit HIV-positive military personnel to be promoted and sent abroad. Before the court decision, the U.S. military had a policy of restricting enlistees who received an HIV diagnosis after completing the application process.
Austin loosened the limitations on individuals already serving in a memorandum to military officials in early June, but he omitted to mention the rule excluding HIV-positive entrants.No obstacle should stand in the way of those like Isaiah who desire to help.
Since the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, it has been unlawful for any employer in the United States—aside from the U.S. military—to discriminate against anyone based on their HIV status. Unfortunately, the policy, in reality, discriminates against people who are able and eager to serve.
Every branch of the American military has had a difficult time achieving its goals for recruits this year, according to an NBC News report from June. This can be explained by the fact that a record-low number of Americans are qualified to serve due to rising health and criminal disqualification rates.