About 100 passengers were reportedly told to evacuate a train in Australia on Feb. 9 after a drunkman with a bleeding leg announced he had AIDs.
The intoxicated man fell from his bike at the North Wongolong station in NSW, according to Fairfax Media. Staff members were told to treat his bleeding leg. While he was being treated, he allegedly told one of the staff members he had AIDs. This led them to evacuate a hundred passengers from the train on the platform. The drunken passenger was then allowed in the train until it stopped in Unanderra. NSW police and ambulance officers met him when he arrived.
Will Harries, media head of HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust based in UK, reacted to the evacuation order and said there was no chance the virus will spread to the passengers. The station staff caused the train passengers to panic.
Harries said public perception of HIV can "take on edge of hysteria," driving discrimination and stigma. He said in the UK, nine out of 10 people with HIV say public attitude towards them needs improvement.
Meanwhile, NSW Trains denied allegations of evacuating 100 passengers from the train following a drunk and bleeding man's declaration he had AIDs. A spokesman had confirmed that passengers were advised to move to another platform to wait for another train. She denied this had anything to do with the man having AIDS.
The NSW Trains representative said passengers were moved to another platform because the train was already delayed and the guard who assisted the bleeding man was uncertain if she can continue working her shift.
NSW AIDS Council Chief Executive Nicolas Parkhill said the incident only reveals how most people react to those who have HIV. The discrimination adds to the negative effect on getting tested and treated for HIV.
To contact the editor, e-mail: