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working with HIV
Dec 30, 2001

I just found out that a person I am working with,and have been for the past year has HIV.I have been in many situations where if he would have gotten hurt I would have done everything to help him(and still would).I just found out today that he has it.Should he have told me he was HIV positive so if he was to get hurt i could take all nessesary precautions to help him without ricking my own life.We are mechanics and are getting cuts and scratches all the time.Sometimes even worse.All the bosses knew,but none of the workers,and we are the ones working hand-n-hand with this guy.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Here's the question: if you knew about his HIV, what would you do differently? The answer will be your definition of how to do first aid all the time now, on everyone. Treat everyone as if their blood is infectious, every time, and you'll be protected. Use a barrier, clean up with soap and water, keep blood out of contact with your own mucous membranes (eyes, nose, mouth)and you'll protect yourself against HIV, as well as hepatitis.

Your bosses not only don't have an obligation to tell you about your coworker's HIV. They have an obligation NOT to. Everyone's medical information is confidential at work. But I would suggest that they have an ethical obligation to provide you with training in how to avoid HIV and hepatitis when doing first aid on the job.



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