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Discriminating against HIV-positive military members is unproductive for our military

The Honorable Ray Mabus
 

By Ray Mabus (Original source Washington Post)

“Last month, I told a federal court of appeals it should affirm a preliminary injunction preventing the Air Force from discharging service members with HIV. It is long past time for the U.S. military to integrate the latest medical science regarding HIV into military policies and to stop discriminating against service members with this medical condition.

The two active-duty airmen in the case — brought by Lambda Legal and the Modern Military Association of America — have served their country honorably for years. Within the past two years, each of them was diagnosed with HIV. But due to tremendous strides in HIV treatment—and because the military provides truly top-notch care to its service members with HIV—they soon had their condition under control and were returned to full health.

Under Air Force policy, these airmen were not allowed to deploy to combat zones and certain other operational areas, but at least they still had their jobs. Until this past fall, that is, when the Air Force decided to discharge them. A new interpretation of a long-standing policy resulted in the discharge of these and other HIV-positive airmen based on their inability to deploy worldwide.”

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