HIV/AIDS: Judge Orders DMV To Issue ‘HIV POS’ License Plate
A U.S. District judge ruled Tuesday that the California Department of Motor Vehicles discriminated in refusing to issue a license plate reading "HIV POS" to 40-year-old Kevin Dimmick, who is HIV positive, the AP/Contra Costa Times reports. The department rejected Dimmick's 1996 application, contending that disclosing confidential medical information was not "a proper state function" and that the plate would be "contrary to good taste in the same way that racial, ethnic and religious slurs are offensive." But federal Judge Susan Illston noted that the state has allowed plates saying "CANCER," "ALZHIMR" and "ADDICTD," as well as "END HIV." She said, "Unlike racial, ethnic and religious slurs, there is nothing inherently offensive about declaring that one is infected with HIV." Dimmick, who founded a support group for HIV-positive heterosexuals, said he had hoped the plate would ease the stigma associated with the disease. The judge, however, rejected Dimmick's request for $5 million in damages based on his discrimination claim that the department "intentionally inflicted emotional distress" on him (Egelko, 7/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.