Aug 29, 2004
I work for the Human Resource deparment of my company and I wanted to know if the company would be able to know if we had an employee that was HIV positive or had aids so that we can protect oursleves?
| Response from Ms. Breuer
No. And here's how to protect yourselves: 1. As an HR professional, learn the facts about HIV transmission. You'll find out that a person with HIV, at any stage, poses NO threat to the health of others. Make sure that everyone in HR knows this and understands why. 2. Make sure your company offers current, reliable first aid training. People need to know how to respond to blood. We have no cases of HIV transmission through first aid in this country, but we do have cases of hepatitis B. They're transmitted the same way. Get the first aid training. 3. Learn the medical confidentiality requirements (the reason the first word of this answer is "no.") Your medical information is private. No one at work has a right to it. The same holds true for all other employees. 4. Ask for an information sheet on HIPAA, the law that recently strengthened confidentiality requirements for employers and imposed stiff fines for violation. As an HR employee, you are responsible (more than a non-HR employee) for protecting employees' privacy. If you do not, your employer could face that stiff fine, and you would probably lose your job. 5. If you learn that an employee is HIV positive, you are legally obligated to tell precisely no one. No one.
Why? Here's the key question: if you knew, what would you do differently?
If your answer is about using protection in sexual contact with someone who may work at the same company, or using barriers when doing first aid, or learning more about HIV so you'll know what it is and how it's transmitted, do it now. Don't wait to be told.
If your answer is that you'd avoid sharing food or a bathroom or a work task with that person, please explore this Website and take advantage of the great education you can get here. Please do not increase anyone's suffering by adding discrimination to illness.
Bet you didn't expect such a long answer, huh?
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