A train in Australia’s Wollongong station was evacuated on February 11 after an injured man said he had AIDS; the resulting disruption caused severe delays.
According to Gay Star News, the man was reportedly drunk and fell off his bike on a station platform, cutting himself. When station staff began treating his bleeding leg, he allegedly told them that he has AIDS; for reasons that were not specified, the decision was made to evacuate the train of its approximately one hundred passengers.
A spokesperson for the company, NSW Trainlink, told Fairfax Media, “All guards are trained in first aid and if someone is injured, it is their duty to make an assessment to either provide first aid or seek medical advice.
“On this occasion, the guard provided assistance.”
The seeming 1980s-era response angered some activists; the CEO of HIV charity ACON, Nicolas Parkhill, told the Star Observer that the actions, being from “a State Government-run enterprise, should not only have drawn an apology for the seven people who were needlessly frightened and evacuated, but also to the wider community of gay men and people living with HIV.”
NSW Trainlink denied that the evacuation was related to the injured man’s claim of having AIDS, and issued an apology for the inconvenience caused.