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Self Funded Health Benefits Law Firm - STD and HIV Testing/Status
May 26, 2004

My question involves the following fact pattern:

An extraordinarily conservative law firm self funds its employee welfare benefit program. Employee need to be tested for STDs and HIV. As a self funded entity, an "officer" of the firm...aka...my boss....has access to any medical information that is being paid for through the plan.

1) knowlege that an employee even needed STD screening, much less knowledge an employee was taking a medication designed for curing or treating an STD; will likely result in either termination or ultimate career degredation; 2) employee need health insurance and and self funded plans can be changed at the drop of a hat.... to specifically exclude and drop treatment for certain conditions, especially STDs like HIV.

So, what do you suggest... where can you get tested and treated if necessary? What, if anything, can be done to prevent disclosre. Specifically, can you suggest any gay friendly doctors in Louisiana that would be willing to test me and treat me without outing me or exposing me... thus causing me to loose a job, health benefits and what may make a promising career?

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Response from Ms. Breuer

And all the partners at the firm are completely monogamous, right? Good grief.

You are a great candidate for the mail-in HIV test, obtainable at a pharmacy (ideally one where they don't know you). Or you could call the AIDS Service Organization in one of your state's larger cities and ask how to obtain anonymous testing in Louisiana at no cost. Whatever you do, don't seek HIV/STD testing through your control freak employer.

If it turns out that you need treatment for any STD, including HIV, follow the advice of your ASO, or your local health department (call from a phone where the number does not appear on Caller ID), but get the treatment. You must be quite an optimist to be thinking in terms of a promising career, unless you're thinking of gaining the experience you want at your present job and then moving on. After a while, if you stay long enough, the firm's policies and attitudes come to be associated with you as an individual. Are you sure that would be what you'd want? Just for starters, terminating or demoting an employee based on HIV status would be a flagrant violation of the ADA. Conservative law firm? Nope. Reactionary law firm. They're not conserving anything that I can identify.

YOu have options for testing and treatment. Please don't delay either.



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