An HIV-positive woman who was denied needed surgery on the basis of her HIV status filed this complaint against the medical provider, alleging violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and various state laws. The woman, who was incarcerated in a Wisconsin correctional facility, required surgery to have her gallbladder removed and was sent by the facility’s primary care physician to an outside clinic for evaluation and treatment. The surgeon at the clinic refused to perform the surgery because, according to the surgeon, of the risk of HIV infection to the surgeon and his staff. The woman did eventually have the required surgery performed by a surgeon at another facility three months later. However, the original clinic was regularly relied on by the correctional facility for treatment of its inmates, as it was likely to be in the future. The complaint seeks an order preventing the clinic from discriminating against the woman, monetary damages, and attorney’s fees.
The Center for HIV Law and Policy challenges barriers to the rights and health of people affected by HIV through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks, and resources. We support movement building that amplifies the power of individuals and communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender, and economic justice.