HIV positive Florida man removed from basketball league, in the middle of a game

Dakota Basinger is a 21-year-old man who was recently diagnosed with HIV. After Dakota’s diagnosis he Last week, in the middle of his team’s playoff game, he was removed from the game by a referee who told him he would no longer be able to play for the league because he was HIV positive.

"He called a timeout, which was rare," Basinger said. "He made both teams go to their benches." Basinger said a city employee called him into a room and asked Basinger if he was HIV positive. Basinger, who was diagnosed a week ago and had posted the information on his Facebook page, said he was. Then, Basinger said, the employee told him that he would need to stop playing – for good.

"I feel humiliated and discriminated against," said Basinger, a rap artist who performs locally. "I felt horrible walking out of that gym."

Basinger's mother, Lisa, was at the game and went with her son when the employee called him into a room to say he couldn't play. "I couldn't believe it," said the outraged mother. "I explained to them that they needed to educate themselves on HIV and that you cannot transmit HIV through spit or casual contact."

Saliva and sweat do not transmit HIV, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV can be spread by blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk.

Dakota’s decision to disclose his HIV status was a brave move. It was a decision that helps the fight against the negative stigma associated with HIV. The actions of the referee feed the stigma and show the need for education when discussing HIV. It has been more than 30 years since the AIDS epidemic started and we have made tremendous advances in the treatment of HIV and AIDS on the medical side. But Dakota’s story reveals the hurtful stigma that still exists. Stigma and discrimination cannot be treated or cured with a pill. Educating people can only cure it.

The Sun-Sentinel has the story.