Lambda Legal and LGBTQ military advocacy outserve SLDN are suing the Department of Defense for their "obsolete" and "unconstitutional" policies involving HIV-positive members.
"For over 30 years The military has severely restricted the services of people living with HIV," the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia said. "Military regulations prohibit Conviction or commissioning of persons living with HIV and strictly are geographical restrictions on the service of members who test HIV-positive for the first time while in active service. "
The Pentagon passed a strict HIV policy in 1
"This is a case of discrimination that has existed for a long time, and it was finally time to clarify that we would not advocate for this type of discrimination by our own government," Schoettes told NBC News.
The lawsuit, under Appealing to a military directive, it says Defense Department policy is to "deny the eligibility for military service to persons with laboratory evidence of HIV infection for appointment, convocation, advance notice or entry training for military service. While the Defense Department refused to comment on the lawsuit, a spokeswoman said in an email to NBC News that "HIV-active service employees" are being evaluated and managed in the same way as a service member with others progressive diseases. "She also said that the department's HIV guidelines are" evidence-based, medically accurate, and regularly reviewed and updated. The Pentagon memorandum was called by its critics "Deploy or Get Out." The memo notes that "service members have been serving for more than 12 consecutive months for some reason."
were not applicable, for which administrative separation will be processed. "
Schoettes said that this policy will make it" almost impossible for people to continue HIV. "
" By default, the military does not consider anyone living with HIV as a kidnapable, "Schoettes said, adding that" in the end, politics could throw out all the people living with HIV today. "
Harrison, 41, joined the military when he was 23 years old and completed two missions in the Middle East. He was diagnosed with HIV in 2012, about the same time he passed the bar exam.
Harrison was confronted a few years later with the military's HIV policy when he received an officer's position in the Advocate General's Division, the Division of the Military,
"I've always wanted to be an officer since I've been in the military," said the Oklahoma native to NBC News. "One of the assets instilled in me is the provision of soldiers."  Harrison said he was "very surprised" when he was denied the opportunity to serve as a JAG officer, calling the HIV policy obsolete. "It does not take into account current medical research."  "There is really no reason for anyone to discriminate against this disease in this society," he added. "HIV is not what it was when it was discovered in the 1980s, it's not a death sentence."
Perry Halkitis, dean of Rutgers University's School of Public Health, agreed. He said the military's HIV policy is still "rooted in the stigma of the 1980s".
"Decisions are made about HIV, which has nothing to do with the current state of science," Halkitis told NBC News.
Harrison's lawsuit, which includes the Defense Department, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and Army Secretary Mark Esper as defendants, seeks to impose restrictions on members of the Pentagon for their HIV status and Harrison as a JAG officer for the DC National Guard use.
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