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Who has the right to know partner's status?
Jun 2, 1999

My partner recently tested positive (December) and began treatment in January. He's employed by a major law firm in our city. Obviously the insurance folks know of his status, but who at his firm has access to the insurance info? And who, legally, has the right to know? It's a pretty conservative firm (they fire people for getting their eyebrows pierced. I'm not kidding.) He's worried about job security (despite the fact that his job performance has been very good). Thanks for your help!


Response from Ms. Gabriel

In the workplace, the right to know is based on the need to know. Everyone's medical information is confidential and that has been true long before the AIDS epidemic began. The employer's right to know is limited and quite restricted. Your medical records are not furnished to your employer - only vague information about plan usage by the company as a whole.

As you probably know by now, anti-HIV medication can have nasty side-effects. Please help your partner to educate himself about his rights under the ADA and the FMLA, should he need coverage by either one of those acts. I encourage to you to obtain a copy of "What About My Rights?" A publication of the National AIDS Fund, written by Nancy Breuer. You can find them at

Lynne Gabriel

Info provided to firm can reveal status?
Relationship with coworker and confidentiality

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