A Hershey-funded boarding school REJECTED an HIV-positive 13-year-old boy for admission, calling his status a “direct threat to the health & safety of others.”
The young man is extremely disappointed in the decision and merely wants the opportunity to live his dreams, work hard and go to college. In an interview with Poz Magazine, he said: "I used to look at Hershey as if I was already one of them. I just knew I would get in because I take pride in everything I do and I keep good grades. I have nothing wrong with me, and everyone that I know, who knows me, likes me."
AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the largest global AIDS organization, is calling for a BOYCOTT of all Hershey candy. We are asking people not to buy any Hershey candy until the company speaks out against AIDS discrimination at the Milton Hershey School and facilitates the boy’s enrollment at the school. Send a message to Hershey that AIDS discrimination is NOT acceptable.
Sign the petition to 3 Hershey Company Board Members—Robert Cavanaugh, James Mead & James Nevels—who also sit on the Milton Hershey School Trust Board, and demand that Hershey denounce this discrimination and facilitate the enrollment of the HIV-positive student at its school.
A list of Hershey's products to boycott: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_products_manufactured_by_The_Hershey_Company
Find out more at www.endHIVstigma.org.
Dear Hershey Board Members: Robert Cavanaugh, James Mead & James Nevels,
I am disturbed by the AIDS discrimination demonstrated by the Hershey Company and the Milton Hershey School by the rejection of a 13-year-old boy for admission due to his HIV-positive status. I am committed to participating in a boycott of Hershey and will not purchase any Hershey candy until the company has denounced this discriminatory act and facilitated the enrollment of the boy at the school.
Hershey claims that it rejected the student because it "cannot accommodate the needs of students with chronic communicable diseases that pose a direct threat to the health and safety of others."
I am morally outraged at this blatantly illegal discrimination. The blatant discrimination and ignorance displayed by Hershey in this case is simply unacceptable and simply not in line with my perception of Hershey as a socially responsible, community-oriented company.
People with HIV do not pose a significant risk to others and generally do not require any special medical attention that cannot be obtained through normal medical visits. HIV can only be transmitted by contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluid or breast milk infected with the disease. HIV is not airborne and cannot be caught by touching skin, sweat or saliva. This means that holding hands, sharing drinking glasses, open-mouthed kissing and other casual contact cannot spread HIV.
In addition, recent studies have shown that people with HIV on AIDS treatment are up to 96% non-infectious. Because of this, those on treatment are not a threat to health and safety of others.
Hershey has displayed a shocking lack of knowledge of the basic facts about HIV and how it is spread, and instead are reacting with ignorance and prejudice. This demonstrates just how much work there is still to be done to dismantle the fear and misinformation that still surrounds HIV more than 25 years after Ryan White.
The Hershey Company must denounce this discrimination and facilitate the enrollment of the HIV-positive student at the Milton Hershey School.
I look forward to your immediate action on this important matter.