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medical exam
May 28, 2008

dr joe,

I am suppose to go for this job that requires a medical examination. My question is when jobs do medical exams like the airlines for example do they do an HIV test as part of the medical exam? and if they do when u are undetectable, dose that mean that they will know that i am HIV+.

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for the question. HIV testing cannot be required for a job unless it is essential to know the employees status. Even in hospitals, doctors and surgeons are not required to have an HIV test. The United Nations rejected a policy to require HIV testing for its peacekeeping forces. The airline industry (South African Airways in particular) have lost court cases in which HIV status was used to deny employment to a cabin crew member. The American with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on a person's actual or perceived HIV status or whether or not they associate with (friendships, spouse, lover of ) a person with HIV. An employer cannot refuse to hire a person based on their HIV status. HIV testing is often required to obtain health insurance, but this information cannot be used to discriminate against a potential employee. With regard to the second part of your question, the HIV antibody test will remain positive even if the viral load is undetectable. Most people will maintain antibodies to HIV (or most infections) throughout their lifetime. This is the way the immune system functions to protect against a re-exposure to infections.

Best,

Joe


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