Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
  Breaking News: FDA Approves Triumeq, New Once-Daily Combination Pill
   
Ask the Experts About

Workplace and Insurance IssuesWorkplace and Insurance Issues
           
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


Concerned employees
Sep 22, 2004

We recently hired someone who is suspected of having AIDS.Another employee of ours used to work with him at another company.We install flooring products which the guys are constantly using wet saws, wire mesh, etc. All employees are concerned that they may be at risk to catching AIDS since the new employee has cut himself on several occassions. Our work environment consists of alot of tools, and cuts are common with usage of them. Can I, as an employer, ask the employee to have an AIDS test? If he is positive, can we release him without any recourse? How can AIDS exactly be contracted? Can it be contracted if the employee cuts himself using the wet saw and his blood drips into the water, the next employee uses the wet saw and his hands touch the water, can it be contracted? There are alot of concerns and questions. Hopefully you can help us.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Breathe. THis is a smaller problem than you think. Here is what HIV requires for transmission: one person's infectious blood must have immediate, intimate contact with another person's bloodstream or mucous membranes. That means unprotected sex, needle-sharing, blood splash to the eye or blood transfusion. Of those, I hope three of four are off the table in your workplace. The blood splash to the eye is a rare but possible event, and I'll bet you require safety glasses anyway. If not, that's the only step I'd recommend to protect others from HIV.

No, his having HIV is NOT grounds for dismissal, and no, you cannot require him to take an HIV test. You could face a huge payment if you let him go because of HIV--it's illegal in all 50 states. He does not pose a threat to anyone else! That's why it's illegal.

Instead, please educate your staff about all bloodborne infections, because hepatitis B and C are easier to transmit and could pose a risk in your work if folks don't know how to respond to blood. Hep B can survive for up to 2 weeks in blood on a tool handle, for example, and could lead to infection if it came into contact with moisture and an open cut. This would be a good time to polish everyone's skills concerning blood on tools or work surfaces.

Blood in water is not considered a risk for HIV infection. It fails the "immediate/intimate contact" test, and the water dilutes the blood.

If I were you, I'd schedule some bloodborne pathogens education right away, and I'd focus on hep B, not on HIV, and certainly not on the one employee who has your current attention.

If you would like to let me know what part of the country you're in, I could send you some recommendations for reliable educators on bloodborne pathogens. Or you could ask your local public health dept. They might be willing to come in at no charge.



Previous
Worried Nurse
Next
Can I be a poz Paramedic?

  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS


 
Advertisement



Q&A TERMS OF USE

This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint

Advertisement