Infected Man: TSA's HIV Bias Just Plane Wrong

Prospective employee says TSA discriminated against him in denying airport job

A man infected with HIV is claiming discrimination after he was denied a baggage screener job at the Hollywood-Fort Lauderdale Airport because of his condition.

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a complaint on the behalf of Michael Lamarre, who says he was "dumfounded and angry" when he was rejected for the position by the TSA.

Though Lamarre's had HIV for over 20 years, the TSA told him they were denying him for his own safety, saying the job would leave him highly susceptible to infection.

"Discrimination is always wrong and, at its worst, when the government is the one discriminating," Robert Rosenwald, director of the LGBT Project of the ACLU of Florida, told the Miami Herald.

Lamarre, 44, is an armed services veteran in good health. As part of his application with the TSA, he was required to take a physical, which he passed.

"A baggage screener with HIV would pose no risk to others and would be no more likely to become infected with a cold or virus than anyone else working in the airport," Dr. Margaret Fischl, director of UM's AIDs clinical research unit, told the Herald.

Lamarre still wants the job, and hopes the TSA will make the right decision.

"For so long, we've had such a terminal idea of [HIV]," he said. "But there's a lot of us living successful, happy lives."

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