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Employer wants to know if employees are HIV+
Apr 7, 1997

I am an employer and would like to know if any of my employees are infected with HIV. Do I have this right?

Response from Ms. Breuer

Because of privacy rights, there is no legitimate way to know if any of your employees are infected with HIV. However, because of the rate of infection in the U.S., you would be wise to assume that you have at least one HIV-positive employee and provide training accordingly. According to U.S. Public Health Service estimates, one in every 250-265 Americans has HIV infection, and those infections are concentrated among people in their 20's, 30's and 40's, so we assume that the rate of infection is somewhat higher among Americans of working age.

Given the rates of infection in the U.S. for HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, I encourage you to provide training to supervisors and employees in managing bloodborne pathogens safely. I especially encourage you to offer training that focuses on what it means when an employee has HIV, because that training can prevent discrimination, can prevent the lawsuits that result from discrimination, and can even prevent new infections among employees and their family members.

Please write again if you have more questions. - Nancy Breuer

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