Mar 2, 1999
We're working on a project for our Government class and we've come across a few questions. Is it right for businesses, including sports programs, to make AIDS testings mandatory for its employees? Also, do you happen to know the odds of an athlete contracting AIDS from another athlete through contact of blood?
| Response from Ms. Breuer
First, let's make sure we're talking about the same thing. There's no such thing as an AIDS test. There is HIV testing for the virus known to cause AIDS. Now, as to mandatory testing: as I understand it, for a business (including a sports franchise) to test an employee or prospective employee, there has to be a sound business reason for the test and everyone in that job category must be given the same test. "Sound business reason" is a pretty high standard, and most businesses would find the courts disagreeing with them that they had a good reason to test, for example, all their bank tellers, or their auto mechanics, or their account representatives, or their senior executives. For a prospective employee, such a test could only be administered after a job offer, not before. As to athletes, the risk of acquiring HIV infection from blood contact during athletic contact of most types has been well-described by the team physician for the team from which Magic Johnson resigned in November 1991 when he tested HIV: "remote, approaching zero." Boxing, for obvious reasons, is an exception.
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