HIV-positive man files lawsuit against Michigan AIDS group

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com August 22 2003 12:00 AM ET

An HIV-positive man in Wayne County, Mich., filed a lawsuit against the HIV/AIDS Resource Center in Ypsilanti, Mich., claiming that the organization disclosed his HIV status in published materials, the Detroit News reports. The man, referred to in court documents only as "John Doe," worked as a volunteer with the group two years ago, at which time the HIV/AIDS Resource Center published an annual report that included his picture and an accompanying caption that identified him as being infected with HIV. Under Michigan law, it is illegal to reveal a person's HIV status without his or her permission.

"The stigma is still so bad that I think people are not surprised to learn that they should not be talking about someone else's HIV status," said Kendra Kleber, director of legal services for the Michigan Advocates Exchange.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified damages. HIV/AIDS Resource Center president Jimena Loveluck did not comment directly on the lawsuit but said the organization does not release confidential medical information and takes the issue of confidentiality seriously.