By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com August 14 2003 12:00 AM ET
An HIV-positive Nevada man filed a complaint this week with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development after the mobile home park where he lives barred him from using the park's swimming pool because he has HIV, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. Ralph Torres says he was sent a letter by attorneys for the Carefree Country Mobile Home Park in Las Vegas, ordering him to not use the park's swimming pool because state law forbade anyone with a communicable disease from using a public pool. Torres also claims the mobile home park's owners have threatened him with eviction if he ever uses the pool and that he has received harassing telephone calls. "I want a public apology," Torres told the Review-Journal as to why he filed the federal complaint. "Justice will prevail one way or another. I'm not going to stop until I win."
Nevada's state epidemiologist says the mobile home park's lawyers misinterpreted the state law, which states that no one with a disease that can be transmitted through water may use a public swimming pool. HIV cannot be contracted from a swimming pool. Hutchison and Steffen, the law firm representing the trailer park, said in a press release that the park's owners do not unlawfully discriminate against people with HIV. "If the park obtains reliable authority stating that a person with AIDS and/or hepatitis B or C poses no risk to other tenants when swimming in the pool, and doing so would not violate Nevada law or county ordinances or policies, Carefree will allow Mr. Torres--or others with his medical conditions--to use the pool."