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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT PLEDGES TO CONTINUE FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION AGAINST PERSONS WITH HIV AND AIDS WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Commemorating World AIDS Day tomorrow, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Deval L. Patrick today reflected on the role the nation's civil rights laws play in the lives of people living with HIV and AIDS and pledged to continue fighting discrimination against them. "Our nation's civil rights laws challenge intolerance and outlaw injustice," said Patrick. "We will continue to make the vigorous enforcement of these laws one of our highest priorities in the Civil Rights Division." Patrick indicated that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities--including HIV and AIDS. "They open doors to people who are often shut out and, in the process, open minds as well," Patrick added. Noting that all Americans share the responsibility of making the fundamental principles of our civil rights laws a reality, Patrick highlighted the Justice Department's national public education campaign to inform Americans about their rights and responsibilities under the law. In addition to public service announcements that have aired nationwide, the Justice Department today began distributing a packet of questions and answers on the ADA and persons with HIV and AIDS. The Justice Department already has taken action in several cases to protect the rights of people with HIV and AIDS. In the past two years the Department has: reached an agreement with Philadelphia to ensure its emergency medical technicians no longer refuse to assist individuals with HIV; won two suits against dentists--in Houston and New Orleans--who refused to treat patients with AIDS--intervened in a third suit in Bangor, Maine, and settled a complaint in East Hartford, Connecticut; succeeded in getting two firefighters, who had been discharged due to AIDS, reinstated in a county-funded fire department in Mississippi; reached an agreement with a California funeral parlor ensuring that the owner will provide his services to persons who die from AIDS-related complications; sued an Illinois-based moving company for refusing to move the belongings of two former Philadelphia residents because a

neighbor who was present had AIDS; challenged the restrictions placed on group homes for people with AIDS by the city of Charlotte, North Carolina; and, won a case against a Pittsburgh landlord who harassed the tenants of group home for people with AIDS. "Far too often, men and women across this nation are denied basic services and opportunities because of myths, fears, and stereotypes," said Patrick. "We must make the promise of equality, opportunity, and fair play a reality for all Americans, including those living with HIV and AIDS." Last year the Justice Department established a toll-free ADA Information line. The number is 1-800-514-0301 or 1-800-514-0383 (TDD). # # # 95-595