Two men living with HIV, and a male friend who is HIV negative, were not allowed to board a plane in Shenyang, China, BBC News reports. The three men allege HIV discrimination by Spring Airlines. A local court has accepted their case.

The airline president said the company does not discriminate against people living with HIV, but instead blames the incident on staff anxiety. An airline spokesperson said the company has not turned away HIV-positive passengers since the incident.

A report claims that one of the men told an airline official after receiving boarding passes that some of the men have HIV. After calling the airline office in Shanghai, the official allegedly told the man the company has rules forbidding HIV-positive passengers.

The man could not negotiate with the airline official, who terminated all of their tickets. The men ultimately took a train to their destination. The three plaintiffs are suing the airline for about $8,000 and are seeking an apology from the airline.

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