The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has upheld an injunction barring the U.S. Air Force from discharging two HIV-positive airmen.
The lawsuit stems from a Defense Department policy that forbids HIV-positive service members from deploying outside the United States without a waiver. In February 2018, the Trump administration elaborated upon the rule, by establishing that any service member who is unable to deploy outside the United States for more than one continuous year should be released from service.
“A ban on deployment may have been justified at a time when HIV treatment was less effective at managing the virus and reducing transmission risks, but any understanding of HIV that could justify this ban is outmoded and at odds with current science,” the ruling states. “In light of major advancements in medical treatments, there is no legitimate reason these service members cannot or should not be able to continue to serve their country,” the judge concluded.
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