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When should I tell my employer I have AIDS?
Mar 30, 1998

I recently started a new job at a car dealers business. I work under the hood and have minimal risk of injuring myself. I am worried though that if others I work with find out that I have AIDS, that they would not work with me or help me if I do injure myself. Help!

Response from Ms. Breuer

You have no obligation to tell your employer or your co-workers about your diagnosis. Your concern about first aid is valid, though--in several ways. In 1998, everyone needs to know how to do first aid safely. I suggest that you observe how first aid is done at your worksite. Check out the first aid kit: does it contain latex gloves? Do they get used when someone is bleeding? Ask questions about whether they've ever had first aid training, or how recently. If the concern for safety appears inadequate, perhaps you could talk with your employer about your concern for bloodborne pathogens--it's been in the news a lot lately--and ask that everyone be brought up to speed in how to do first aid. Pester. Insist that you don't want to get hepatitis from anyone's blood. At worst, you'll be "the new guy who's weird about blood." That's not so bad. Even if you never get injured, you might save someone at work a hepatitis B infection from somebody else because you insisted that everyone should know what to do.

If that doesn't work, please write back and tell me, and we'll take it another step further.

Nancy Breuer

Work, Travel and HIV

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