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Disclose status to prospective business partner?
Jun 13, 2001

I am hiv positive and have been planning to form a new business partnership with another person. Do I need to disclose my hiv status to this prospective business partner?

Response from Ms. Breuer

What a good question! Let's address it as if you were applying for a new job. Are you able to fulfill all of the essential functions of the job? Do you require reasonable accommodation? If you are indeed able, and do not require reasonable accommodation, then your question is a personal ethical question, not one of any other kind of obligation. How much medical information do you expect to receive about your prospective business partner? That consideration could be one variable in your decision-making.

As a person who has entered into business partnership with two other people in the last 2 years, I can tell you that I have appreciated knowing everything they could tell me about their work ethics, their expectations, their goals and their schedules. I don't know all that much about their health, except that we applied for disability insurance coverage together and received it. Would I prefer to know if they had HIV? Only if they were comfortable telling me. Would it have changed my decision? Absolutely not. But I'm not the person you're considering partnering with.

I urge you to make your decision based on your existing relationship with the person, and I salute you for even thinking to ask this question. I wish you every success.



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