PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As World AIDS Day is observed, a lawsuit recently filed on behalf of a Delaware County woman is a reminder of how much of a stigma remains for sufferers of the disease.
The suit filed last week identified the plaintiff only as Jane Doe, a transgender woman living with HIV. She got along well with the neighbors in her apartment building until one day when she went to get a delivery from the common mail room and found drugs for her HIV treatment and gender transition regimen had been sent in packages clearly marked with her name and the contents.
“She immediately noticed a change in her neighbors,” explained Ronda Goldfein, executive director of the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania. “She’d walk into the laundry room, conversation would stop. She would hear them talking about ‘that drag queen with AIDS.'”
There have been many advances for people with HIV in the thirty years since the AIDS Law Project was founded but according to Goldfein, the case is a reminder that there is much left to do. “That pain around living with HIV is still there when you encounter neighbors like this,” she said.
Goldfein said the woman no longer feels comfortable or secure in her home and wants to move. She asked that the pharmacy, Sunray Drugs, be ordered to pay actual and compensatory damages for exposing confidential health information. Sunray did not respond to requests for comment.