Do some states require HIV Disclosure?
Sep 10, 1997
I am an HIV positive healthcare worker (registered nurse) in the state of Florida. At this time, I feel it is in my best interest to not disclose my HIV status. Are you aware of any laws that would require me to disclose this information to my employer or that would jeopardize me, in any way, by keeping this information a secret. thank you for your reply
Response from Ms. Breuer
No state or federal law of which I am aware would require you to disclose your HIV status to your employer. In health care or hospital settings, the clinic or hospital generally has its own policy about HIV+ employees and their performance of invasive procedures. I have not seen such regulations applied to RN's. Even the American College of Surgeons strongly supports the rights of an HIV-infected surgeon to continue to work. Such a policy should be in the employee handbook or posted on an employee bulletin board.
I encourage you to talk with a volunteer attorney at an AIDS service center in your area or to call the CDC national AIDS hotline at 1.800.232.4636 to learn more about your rights in the Florida workplace. The hotline has a legal referrals service that can direct you to an HIV-knowledgeable attorney in Florida. That person is bound by confidentiality laws to keep your information confidential.
As you investigate this, I encourage you to model universal precautions at work at the highest level of professionalism. Should your HIV status ever be involuntarily disclosed somehow, you would probably want people to think of you as the most scrupulous RN they know when it comes to preventing blood contact.
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