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aids in workplace
May 24, 2003

One of my co workers recently informed me and other coworkers that he tested positive for hiv about 10 years ago. he aalso told us that he hasn't taken medication for about two years and that he me be full blown by now. He also has convulsions at work and none of us could figure out why until now.Not every one at work knows about this and my concern is what if he needs medical attention because of the convulsions and one of our co workers who doesnt know tries to help and comes in do we help until medical attention arrives. And if he is not taking medication are we at a higher risk?

Response from Ms. Breuer

Good question. Yes, theoretically you are at higher risk providing first aid for someone who has HIV and is not taking meds, because that person's viral load (amount of virus in the blood) is likely to be higher than the viral load of someone on combination therapy. But what infectious body fluid would you be contacting? THe only choices are blood and semen. If you use universal precautions (look this up on the Internet if you don't know what this means) on him and on everyone else, you can give first aid to anyone.

Now to the question of his privacy. YOu do not have the right to tell anyone else about his HIV status. Period. Only he has that right. You protect others by making sure they know how to do first aid, not by disclosing someone's HIV status. He's just the one you happen to know about. Use the same care with EVERYONE.

Possible exposure at work?
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