A man living with HIV filed a discrimination lawsuit against a doctor and medical group for refusing to perform hip replacement surgery on him because of his HIV status. The plaintiff, Justin Smith of Los Angeles, had been HIV positive for over 30 years, but this marks the first time he has publicly revealed his status.
“Like many long-term survivors, I lost numerous friends and a partner to AIDS. This lawsuit is about the very real stigma people with HIV carry to this day, and my personal experiences being confronted with it,” Smith said in a press release from Consumer Watchdog, whose lawyers, along with Theresa J. Barta, represent Smith.
This lawsuit, Smith continued, “is about how I lived with this stigma over 30 years. I kept my HIV status a secret from anyone that did not have to know, even my family. Everyone deserves health care without judgment. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity. To be understood, and not marginalized. I hope this lawsuit helps get us there.”