Last year, Seed magazine and Scienceblogs noted the 25th anniversary of the recognition of AIDS. You’d think that in all that time, especially with the identification of HIV and all the public education campaigns in the 1980s, people would realize by now that HIV isn’t spread by casual contact. You can’t get it by sharing drinking glasses, by coughing and sneezing around others, by being in the same swimming pool. However, the message still hasn’t gotten out in some areas, it would seem, as a two-year old HIV+ boy was restricted from using the pool and showers at an Alabama campground. More information and video after the jump.
Last week, Dick and Silvia Glover went to the Wales West RV Park in Silver Hill, Ala., with their foster son Caleb. When the boy was banned from using the pool and showers, the Glovers said they were offered an uncomfortable and painful choice: They could either keep Caleb out of the water or leave.
“We weren’t sure if somebody could get the virus if the child upchucked on them or from blood or what,” said Ken Zadnichek, the park’s owner. “We didn’t know what the risk was. That’s why we asked for something from their doctor or the county health department.”
Dick Glover said the request for a doctor’s note made it clear Caleb was unwelcome.
An Alabama newspaper quoted Zadnichek as saying, “I’m not responsible for their feelings. I’m responsible for the well-being of everybody in the park. If their feelings got hurt, I’m sorry. That’s the way it’s got to be.”
Perhaps the most depressing part of it is that a survey question is asked with the story, asking who’s “side” you’re on: the campground owner, or the parents’. As of 2PM Eastern time, over 300,000 votes had been logged, and it was at 45% in favor of the owner, and 55% for the parents. Even after all this time, it seems we still have a giant gap in public education about HIV/AIDS.