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Teaching and HIV
Jan 29, 1998

Hello. Could you tell me if there would be any problems in teaching grade school (in NJ) while HIV positive? Do the states or communities have any regulations? I don't want to put in the years at college if I won't be able to find a job or be treated as unclean. Thanks so much for your time. JC

Response from Ms. Breuer

The legal precedent that answers your question was set in Orange County several years ago in Chalk v. a school district (I don't recall which one) in Orange County. Mr. Chalk was removed from his grade school classroom when the district learned that he was HIV-positive. He sued and won, and was returned to his job. You are not required to disclose your HIV status to a school district or any other employer (with some very specific exceptions, such as health care workers who perform invasive procedures, and those policies are set by hospital boards, not by state legislatures). Quoting from the AIDS Litigation Project, a compilation of HIV-related decisions in the 1990's: author Lawrence Gostin writes, '"Any employment policy that prohibits employment of persons with AIDS or AIDS-related conditions is, on its face, unlawful." You are protected from discrimination based on HIV status by both the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

-- Nancy Breuer



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