Health and Wellness

HIV+ trans woman outed by pharmacy to neighbors

Pills on a background that says
Photo: Shutterstock

An unnamed transgender woman in Pennsylvania has sued a local pharmacy called SunRay Drugs for outing her HIV-positive status to her neighbors, subjecting her to their mistreatment.

The woman alleges that on November 28, 2018 SunRay Drugs delivered her HIV and transition-related hormonal medications to the public mail area in a bag that clearly had her name and the names of her drugs printed in bold, all-capped letters, allowing everyone to see. Usually the pharmacy delivered the medications in an unmarked brown paper bag with only her name on it.

Related: 28% of young adults say they wouldn’t hug someone living with HIV

According to court documents, the woman, who had always kept her HIV-status and trans identity a secret from her neighbors, immediately cancelled her business with the pharmacy and called the AIDS Law Project of Pennsylvania to report that her privacy rights had been violated.

While the pharmacy said it would take steps to ensure that it would never repeat the mistake, the woman claims that her neighbors began gossiping about her and treating her in a cold and distant manner.

A photograph showing where the pharmacy allegedly delivered the transgender woman's drugs in a sack whose information was viewable by any neighbor using the mail area.
A photograph showing where the pharmacy allegedly delivered the transgender woman’s drugs in a sack whose information was viewable by any neighbor using the mail area.

On one occasion, she overheard neighbors refer to her as “the drag queen with AIDS” while speaking in the shared laundry area. She no longer attends the apartment building’s holiday parties and now uses a private entrance and the laundry room during night hours so she won’t have to face any neighbors.

She is seeking financial compensation for damages including “embarrassment, humiliation, frustration, anxiety, emotional distress, fear, and loss of social support.”

The court documents list SunRay Drugs as a medical provider who negligently and non-consensually exposed the woman’s medical history, breaking a provision in Pennsylvania’s Confidentiality of HIV-related Information Act and other federal laws.

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