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Letter Carrier Won’t Deliver Mail to Couple With AIDS

July 12, 1995

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) _ A letter carrier is refusing to deliver mail to a couple with AIDS, fearing he could catch the disease by touching the stamps or envelopes they lick.

``It is a fear that is, in my opinion, unfounded, and what we’re doing is bringing in our doctor and our nurse to let everyone know there is nothing to be afraid of,″ Charleston Postmaster Fred Esslinger said Tuesday.

Tim Snodgrass said today he is afraid he might cut himself on Pat and Fred Grounds’ metal mail box, creating an open wound that would allow infection by the AIDS virus. He said he would deliver the mail if they installed a plastic unit.

There was no immediate word today if any discipline was planned against Snodgrass; Esslinger was out of his office this morning.

The Grounds, the first residents of a home for people with AIDS run by the Covenant House charity, received no mail after moving in during mid June. They said a postal supervisor began delivering the mail himself on July 5 after they complained.

Doctors say AIDS is transmitted through blood and semen and cannot be transmitted through casual contact or saliva.

``Ignorance is running rampant, and it’s just so frustrating,″ Grounds said.

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