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I want to apply for medical job on cruise ship
May 8, 2013

I want to apply for a medical job on a cruise ship, something that I have tremendous experience in. Will I have to disclose my HIV positive (undetectable) status? We all know that HIV is not spread by casual contact, and if there are any body fluids that they would come from the possible patient. Do you have any resources where I could find info on this? Thank you.

Response from Mr. Chambers

There appears to be no single answer that covers the entire cruise line industry. A quick summary can be found here.

It appears that most large cruise lines do require HIV testing of all employees, however, lines hiring out of Europe tend not to.

Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a person cannot be subjected to an exam or testing until a job offer has been given. That job offer cannot be withdrawn due to a positive HIV test unless there is a "direct threat" of transmission. The only court case I found concerning a cruise line involved an entertainer and the cruise line lost that.

Then there is the issue of medically trained personnel. That usually isn't a problem except in the most invasive types of practices. Whether that allows a cruise line to refuse to hire you has not been tested to my knowledge.

It is my understanding that all medical treatment of the crew while at sea is covered 100% by the cruise line. That could give lines an additional incentive not to hire HIV+ persons if at all possible.

Bottom line, there is no way to know for sure whether legal protections that cover most US workers in the US will be able to protect you in your proposed position.

Perform a browser search for "HIV+ medical personnel on cruise ships." There is quite a bit of information, but no clear pattern.

You may also seek some guidance from a legal services agency in your area that serves people with HIV/AIDS.

Good luck, Jacques



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