Jun 28, 2014
I have been a police officer here in Florida for nearly 20 years with the same department, we have hundreds of employees at our department. I found out that I was HIV+ last year and due to having great benefits have received great care and meds. I am doing well and my health never decreased. I never missed any time away from work and I have never called out sick. I took the test last year as a precaution, in my field you can never be to sure. As I have responded to many scenes in the past where blood was everywhere, crimes scenes, traffic crashed, injured assault victims, etc etc. I will spare you the horrific details. I have not disclosed my status to anyone other than my wife. We made a decision together not to tell anyone else, not family, friends or co- workers. Unfortunately, in my field of work. There are unfair stereotypes associated with those who are HIV, I have done some research and can't find any information about other police officers in Florida who are HIV positive. We have a policy at our department that states we must advise our supervisor if we have a communicable disease, I thought this would be illegal under HIPPA. The best info I have found deals with medical professionals who provide evasive procedures. Do I have to tell my Chief that I am POZ? Is there any recourse for me with proving I was exposed on the job? I always used gloves when doing CPR and continue to abide by universal precautions, I would rather just deal with it on my own and at this time can't think of any reason to tell anyone. I am also locked into my insurance and retirement plans. Thanks for any guidance.
Response from Mr. Chambers
First, I agree with your decision not to disclose your status to others, given your situation.
Regarding your group's policy about disclosing "communicable" diseases, I encourage you to ask that of any legal referral, which I will go into below. Florida may have legal reasons not to include HIV in that category.
I do not find any general requirement that you would be required to disclose your status to your employer. The list at this link specifies disclosure in Florida, and your occupation isn't one of them.
Due to the importance of this issue to you, I encourage you to double check this with an employment or HIV knowledgeable legal source in Florida, and who can interpret your employer's written policy better. at this link
Here is a list of groups in Florida. If they don't offer legal assistance, they should be able to refer you to someone who provides it.
Good luck, Jacques
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