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aids hiv disclosure in educational environments
Dec 31, 1998

i am doing a debate for english comp. on aids/hiv disclosure in educational environments and am on the pro-side. i am focusing on safety of those without aids or hiv. do you have any information on this?

Response from Ms. Breuer

You got the short end of that stick. The law protects the confidentiality of medical information for all of us as part of the constitutional right to privacy, so you need to argue against the constitutional right to privacy to prevail. HIV is bloodborne, not airborne, so a person with HIV does not pose a threat to the health of others. If there is a blood spill, the "safety of those without AIDS or HIV" is provided by universal precautions, not by disclosure. Think about it: an estimated 60% of the people in this country who are HIV+ don't know it. If you asked whether they have HIV, they would say no. Would you do first aid without barriers in their case? Not if you're wise. So the standard is to use barriers in first aid whenever blood is present.

I'm not crazy about this assignment. Since public health standards, universal precautions and the law all support the right of an HIV-infected person to be in an educational environment, what is the point? Your side of the debate will have to use fear-mongering, a practice that can lead to discrimination. Is that something you want to be part of?

Nancy Breuer

Do employers have the right to know if an employee has AIDS?
Ethics on Health Care Worker disclosing patients HIV status

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