National & World News
Court Upholds Right To Wear Antigay Shirt
An Illinois school district must suspend its ban on antigay T-shirts following a decision by the US Court of Appeals. The court reversed a lower court ruling, deciding that Neuqua Valley sophomore Alex Nuxoll was free to wear his “Be Happy, Not Gay” T-shirt to the Naperville, Illinois, high school, The Daily Heights newspaper in Arlington Heights, Illinois, reported. In March 2007, Nuxoll and another student filed suit charging that Indian Prairie Unit District 204 violated their right to free speech by prohibiting them from wearing antigay T-shirts to school. Other students at the Naperville school were permitted to wear shirts with messages supporting homosexual behavior. The two students said they believed homosexuality was immoral. Attorney Nate Kellum of the Alliance Defense Fund, which represented the two, stated, “Christian students shouldn’t be discriminated against for expressing their beliefs.”
Scientists Lose Hope Over AIDS Vaccine
A survey of leading US and British AIDS researchers related that many scientists see little hope for an effective vaccine against HIV in the near future. Just two of the 35 scientists surveyed were more optimistic about the prospects for an HIV vaccine than they were a year ago, while only four said they were more optimistic now than they were five years ago, according to the survey by Britain’s Independent newspaper. It found that nearly two-thirds believed an HIV vaccine will not be developed within the next 10 years, and some of the scientists think it may take at least 20 more years of research. Researchers said the direction of AIDS research needs to change after the failure last year of a promising prototype vaccine used as an animal model for more than a decade. AIDS researcher Robert Gallo told the newspaper the vaccine’s failure is similar to the Challenger disaster that forced the space agency to ground its space shuttle fleet for years.
Device Tracks AIDS Patient Med Adherence
US scientists have developed a breath-monitoring device designed to track AIDS patients’ adherence to their medication schedules. The University of Florida (UF) scientists said most people have forgotten to take a prescribed drug at one time or another, but for people with AIDS or the HIV virus, a skipped pill could present a hazard for the entire population. The new device, produced in collaboration with Xhale Inc., could help prevent the emergence of drug-resistant strains of HIV by monitoring medication adherence in high-risk individuals, according to Dr. Richard Melker, a Professor of Anesthesiology at the UF College of Medicine and Chief Technology Officer for Xhale. The device records the results of each breath test, allowing patients to bring a memory card or USB key to their physician once a month, and receive a printout of their results. “The doctor can see how often you took [a medication], and exactly what time. If it made the patient really sick or dizzy, and they didn’t take it, they can find out why,” Melker stated, adding it’s not just a question of whether the medication was consumed, but also when it was taken, or why it wasn’t.
Rights Tribunal Quashes Morality Agreement
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Canada, struck down a Christian care group’s policy of requiring employees to sign a morality agreement. The tribunal ruled that Christian Horizons, which operates more than 180 residential homes for some 1,400 developmentally challenged people in the province, infringed on rights by requiring its 2,500 employees to sign a “Lifestyle and Morality Statement.” Among the conditions, employees had to state contractually they wouldn’t enter into same-sex relationships. Employee Connie Heintz signed the agreement more than five years ago, and a news release from the tribunal said she later “came to terms with her sexual orientation as a lesbian.” When Christian Horizons learned of her lifestyle, she was told she had to resign, and she sought a rights ruling. The tribunal ordered the group to pay Heintz lost wages, general damages, and damages for mental anguish. It also ruled Christian Horizons no longer can require employees to sign a lifestyle and morality statement; must develop antidiscrimination policies; and must provide training to all employees and managers.
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