WASHINGTON D.C. — (11-12-22) — LGBT advocacy group Lambda Legal, files lawsuit against the Pentagon over its ban on HIV recruits. The LGBT advocacy group behind the lawsuit argues that the virus is no longer the threat it was in the 1990s.
Lambda Legal has sued the US Department of Defense and the US Army over its policy barring HIV-positive individuals from enlisting in the U.S Armed Services. The group says that modern medicine has made the 1991 ban “irrelevant.”
The lawsuit was filed last Thursday by Lambda Legal on behalf of a gay man, a transgender woman, and a heterosexual woman, all of whom cannot join the armed forces due to their HIV diagnoses.
The Pentagon enacted a blanket ban on HIV-positive recruits in 1991, at a time when roughly twice as many Americans were either suffering or dying of AIDS.
Medical breakthroughs, particularly the advent of antiretroviral drugs, have “radically changed the landscape of HIV treatment and progression,” the lawsuit read. With those in treatment incapable of transmitting HIV and the disease no longer a death sentence, the group argued that a recruit’s HIV status is now “irrelevant to a person’s ability to meet the criteria for entry and service in any capacity.”
JRL CHARTS LGBT Politics reached out to the Pentagon for comment but were told that they are unable to comment amid the ongoing litigation.
Lambda Legal is well known for winning two landmark cases against the Pentagon in April, using similar arguments to overturn a policy banning existing service members with HIV from deploying abroad.
Following the ruling, military personnel with undetectable viral loads can no longer be kept from deploying.
Arguing in favor of the Pentagon ban, lawyers for the military said that while the risk of transmission from blood-to-blood contact between troops in combat zones is low, “it is not nonexistent.”
We will continue to follow this case and bring you developments as they arise.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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