[HISTORY: Adopted by the Municipal Council of the City of Taunton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 5-16-1989; amended 7-14-1992 (§ 2-15 of the 2010 Code)]
It is the policy of the City of Taunton to eliminate discrimination based on the fact that a person has AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome), or any medical signs or symptoms related thereto, and to provide education, referrals to community resources and organization of support groups, and to provide education for municipal first responders. In adopting this article, the City does not intend to proscribe any activity the proscription of which would constitute an infringement of the free exercise of any of the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
After consideration of testimony and documentary evidence, the Municipal Council finds and declares that the medical condition described as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, and commonly known as AIDS, is a deadly disease which has the potential to affect every segment of the City's population. AIDS was first recognized in 1978. It is now seen as the top priority of the United States Public Health Service.
AIDS is the most severe manifestation of a spectrum of clinical diseases caused by a virus, variously known as HIV, which attacks and cripples the body's immune system by killing T-helper lymphocytes, thereby leaving the body vulnerable to opportunistic infections and malignancies. The spread of the virus has occurred only through the exchange of body fluids, that is blood, blood products, vaginal secretions or semen between individuals. No evidence exists to indicate that the virus can be spread by casual person-to-person contact. Medical studies of families in which one or more members have been infected with HIV show no spread of the virus other than through sexual intercourse, intercourse, injectable drug use or from mother-to-fetus in utero. The public health danger presented by the virus and its subsequent manifestations of AIDS is caused by lengthy asymptomatic period of infection during which an apparently healthy individual may unknowingly spread the disease to other persons through the exchange of blood, blood products, vaginal secretions or semen. AIDS is concentrated primarily in urban areas.
AIDS by its nature has created a minority of our citizens who are afflicted with a seriously disabling condition whose ultimate outcome is fatal. Individuals infected with the virus represent a significant segment of our population particularly victimized due to the nature of their infection and to the present climate of misinformation, ignorance and fear in the general population. Persons with AIDS are faced with discrimination in employment, housing and access to business establishments, City facilities, City services and other public accommodations. This discrimination cuts across all racial, ethnic and economic lines. Such discrimination poses a substantial threat to the health, safety and welfare of the community.
There shall be an AIDS Consortium established by the City to deal with the various aspects of the AIDS virus and its effects on Taunton citizens. The Consortium shall be appointed by the Mayor, subject to the approval of the Council, and coterminus with the Mayor. The Consortium shall consist of representatives from the agencies or organizations of the following disciplines:
The Consortium shall appoint co-chairpersons, a secretary and a treasurer annually.