March #45 : No Brownie Points - by James Dale

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Dog Days in Malibu


Born in Flames

Gay Guru

Soldier of Fortune

Rare Gem

Marathon Man

On the Waterfront

Race With the Angels

Mean Streets


To the Editor

Ticket to Ride

Death by Disclosure

Slip Off the Old Block

Poster of the Month: Ruff Times


Say What

HIV in the Hood

No Brownie Points

Grades for AIDS

French Twist

Southern Discomfort

Sister Act Up


POZarazzi: Call It a Day

Verse: Terminal Girl

Primary Concerns


Naming Names

Fast Company

Junk Mail

Life After Legacy

Spin Doctors

PWAs’ Best Friend

What’s Up, Doc?

HIV’s Incredible Endgame

The ABCs of Baby AZT

Hit the Dirt

Selling Sustiva

Publish or Perish

Best of the Rest

Where to Find It

What a Waste

Full Disclosure

People, Their Pets and Pet Peeves

Parental Guidance

Aunt Evelyn's Letters

Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

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March 1999

No Brownie Points

by James Dale

Scouts make girl with HIV pout

Nine troops, two months and a barrage of national media is what it took for one 8-year-old to find a Brownie troop that would accept her—HIV and all. The Brownies, a program of the Girl Scouts of America, pride themselves on fostering “sensitivity to others and respect for their needs, feelings and rights.” But this was not quite Quashawn Donovan’s experience.

Dianne Donovan was up-front about her wannabe-Brownie daughter’s HIV status with New York state’s Adirondack Girl Scout Council, and said officials responded enthusiastically. Initially, several local troop leaders showed interest in adding Quashawn to their ranks, but as each one found out she had HIV, the offers vanished faster than a box of Girl Scout cookies. “The rejections came from a lack of HIV education. But the Girl Scouts didn’t realize who they were messing with,” said Donovan, founder of Positively Kids, an advocacy group for kids with HIV.

After Donovan alerted the media, the council’s top brass said it didn’t view the Brownie about-face as a case of HIV discrimination. According to executive director Kit Huggard, the refusal was simply a space issue: “Quashawn was on a waiting list, like 30 other girls.” The tenacious trooper finally made the cut in December when Brownie leader James Caligiuri, a nurse, welcomed her into his pack.  

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