Police Applicant is HIV+
Aug 24, 1998
I am a police officer applicant who is very close to being made an "offer of employment". I have only the psych and medical tests to complete. Altho I have known about my pal HIV for 6 years, I have been blessed with no major illnesses. I have been absent from my current job only 8 days over 6 years time. I realize the medical exam will include recretional drug testing...but will my current cocktail of Crixivan, 3TC, and AZT appear too...am I obligated to disclose my status?? A moral issue also concerns me: do I disclose my status for the sake of fellow officers and the public's safety? Can the Dept NOT hire me due to HIV?? I have rated 'above average' in all categories to date....Thanks
Response from Ms. Breuer
Congratulations! Yes, your medical exam will include recreational drug testing, but I am not sure whether any of your antivirals could trigger the test. Check with your pharmacist on that one--and provide the complete list of all prescription and over-the-counter medications so your pharmacist can check for all possible drug test triggers. If the pharmacist finds one, request a note from the pharmacist before your medical test that states that possibility. The note should not name the drugs. It just cites the possibility and the fact that the medication in question is duly prescribed by a licensed physician. If your prospective employer requires further information, I encourage you to check with an attorney related to your local AIDS service organization before providing it. It's much easier to protect your rights before they've been violated.
No, you are not obligated to disclose your status. The moral question really has more to do with your strength, stamina and mental state than anything else. You will not be putting members of the public at risk because you will not be having sex or sharing needles with the public on the job. (E-mail me again for further discussion if you have a different understanding of police work!) Your fellow officers are obligated to treat you and anyone else who might be bleeding with universal precautions, which I assume is part of your training.
The moral issue is that your partner will be depending on you to be strong enough to allow him/her to put his/her life in your hands if need be. If you reach a point where your stamina diminishes or where you feel that the virus has begun to impair your central nervous system in any way, then in my opinion you would have an obligation to request a job assignment that does not put you in the position of having a partner rely on your stamina for his or her life. If you would like to discuss this aspect of your job confidentially with a police officer who provides HIV training for police officers, I encourage you to call the AIDS Education for Emergency Workers Project in Sacramento, California. They're in area code 916.
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