University of Houston Smear Campaign Publicizes Student Candidate's HIV Status

Kristopher Sharp, a social work major at the University of Houston-Downtown, hoped to be the student body's vice president before a nasty smear campaign drove him to consider transferring immediately instead, the Houston Press reports.

At least one person posted fliers around campus telling students that if they want to contract AIDS, to vote for Sharp and his running mate, Isaac Valdez, who both support a "homosexual agenda."

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(Via WXOW)

Sharp had not seen the posters before the dean of students called Sharp into his office to show him the flier, according to the Press. Worse, Sharp's confidential medical information had been printed on the other side of the flier.

"I think this is a despicable act. I am shocked that the individuals who did this would resort to this kind of smear," Sharp told WXOW.com, which reports that campus police have opened a criminal investigation into the incident.

Campus spokeswoman Claire Caton said she was appalled when she heard the news, according to WXOW.com.

GayRVA.com notes that university police believe they can charge the perpetrator with involuntary disclosure of his medical status without permission. Campus police also told the site that because terms like "homosexual" and "AIDS" were used rather than slurs, the attack would be considered free speech.

Sharp told the Houston Press, "There's a culture at UHD that is somewhat less accepting of LGBT youth, but something of this magnitude is completely mind-blowing. I knew, going into the election, that I could possibly be targeted because of my sexuality -- but I had no idea that it would go to this level."

Since his meeting with the dean of students, Sharp has reconsidered transferring. He said he'll stay and the university, will continue his campaign and seeks only an apology from the perpetrator. Sharp has also said he won't press charges, according to WXOW.com.



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