The First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has backed a rule change that would allow an HIV positive man to become a commercial airline pilot.
The Glasgow man, who wants to remain anonymous, has been prevented from fulfilling his ‘boyhood dream’ by the Civil Aviation Authority because of his HIV status.
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) refused him the medical certificate needed to gain a commercial licence, saying European regulations prevented it granting the certificate to someone who was HIV positive.
As a result, he is unable to take up an offer from EasyJet to join its pilot training scheme – despite saving up for years to pay for the training.
“It has had a fundamental impact,” he told Buzzfeed. “It means the one career choice I want to make and want to do, I’m being told no, and the cause of that is because I’m HIV-positive.
“It has destroyed a boyhood dream for me. It makes it difficult to accept the (HIV) diagnosis, because you want to believe there are no restrictions to you, but actually there are.”
HIV-positive people are allowed to apply for a commercial pilot’s licence in the Netherlands, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
Ms Sturgeon (pictured) said she was not aware of the full details of the case, but added: “I am very clear that any employment policies or regulations in this area must be based on the most up to date facts about HIV, not on outdated information or misconceptions.
“I do understand that the Civil Aviation Authority has already said that they support a rule change in this area and are working with the European Aviation Safety Agency to reassess the regulation.
“I will write to the CAA to make clear my support for this rule change. We can all play our part in making life better for those living with HIV and we should all continue to work to eradicate the stigma around the virus and tackle the false myths and prejudices that unfortunately still surround it.”
The CAA has said it supports a rule change “where it is safe to do so” and is working with EASA to reassess the regulation.
EASA has also said it was considering a change to the rules.
Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director at HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, told Metro.co.uk: “We’re appalled at the decision made by the CAA in this case, which totally goes against the Equality Act 2010 and reinforces the already damaging stigma that faces people living with HIV in the UK.
“There is no reason someone living with HIV should not be able to fly a plane, and we hope to see this decision overturned as soon as possible.”