Settlement Ends Discrimination Case of Nine-Year-Old Forced to Take HIV Test

April 22, 1999 12:00 am

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CAROL STREAM, IL — A nine-year-old black child who was allegedly coerced into taking an HIV test after sharing a snorkel in a public pool with a white youth settled a discrimination case against a suburban day care center, the Chicago Sun-Times reported today.

The mother and son plaintiffs in the case, identified only as “Mary Doe” and “Jimmy Doe,” settled for an undisclosed amount of money, said Roger Leishman, AIDS project director for the ACLU of Illinois, which represented the family.

“We’re happy, and our client is happy also, and that’s all I can say about the cash settlement,” Leishman said.

The suit targeted Outreach Community Ministries, which operated a day care center in Carol Stream that Jimmy attended. It also targeted a DuPage County medical clinic. Outreach and the clinic did not admit any wrongdoing under the terms of the settlement.

The suit, filed in federal court last year, alleged that Jimmy, on a visit from a nearby community center, shared a snorkel with a white child at a Wheaton public pool in summer 1996. What happened next, the ACLU said, revealed some of society’s worst stereotypes about race and AIDS.

The suit said that the white child’s mother, threatening litigation, demanded that the black child be subjected to an HIV test–solely because of the 9-year-old’s race. And, the suit alleged, Outreach coerced the black child’s mother into making her son take the test. The paper reported that the black mother was told her son might lose his day care.

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