A New York state appeals court has allowed a Brooklyn woman’s lawsuit against the state for using her image in an HIV awareness campaign to proceed. According to the Daily News, the court ruled that the woman’s lawsuit has standing because people have yet to accept people who have the virus.
Avril Nolan, who is HIV-negative, is suing the state’s Division of Human Rights for $1.5 million for using her Getty Images image in an advertisement about the rights of HIV-positive people.
“I am positive, I have rights,” the ad says, with a picture of Nolan. The Daily News reported that it ran in three newspapers and three websites.
The state argued that “HIV is no longer a shameful condition worthy of heightened treatment under the defamation laws,” according to the decision, obtained by the Daily News. The state cited celebrities like Charlie Sheen and Magic Johnson as evidence that society has accepted people living with HIV.
But the court disagreed.
“A significant segment of society has been too slow in understanding that those who have the disease are entitled tothe full embrace of society,” the court wrote. The decision was unanimous.
According to the Daily News, Nolan posed for the photo in 2011 for an article about music interests. The photo was then sold to Getty and ended up in the state’s HIV campaign.
Nolan has already gotten a settlement from Getty, though the terms are confidential.