Your article on Paul Gann and his battle against AIDS (Part I, May 11) gave a misleading impression of the AIDS ballot initiative that he and Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton) are circulating. Not mentioned in your piece were several of the initiative's most dangerous provisions. Among other things, it would:
1) Severely weaken current confidentiality requirements for HIV-antibody testing and eliminate the requirement for written consent before a person could be tested.
2) Allow employers to test applicants and employees.
3) Allow insurance companies to test.
The result of these provisions, when combined with the proposal's mandatory-testing and mandatory-reporting requirements, will be to create an entire class of lepers within society: a group of "untouchables" who can be denied employment or insurance with no medical or public-health justification whatsoever. The provisions of Gann's initiative are far more punitive and restrictive than anything Lyndon LaRouche has proposed.
Gann, of course, won't be hurt by any of this. He has the good fortune to be well-known and financially secure. It is sad that his evident bitterness at his illness has led him to propose an initiative which could condemn hundreds of thousands of Californians to needless suffering and, in the long run, cripple genuine efforts to stop AIDS.
for AIDS Research and Education