Fighting HIV And AIDS Discrimination In The Workplace

Sadly, the complications that arise from a positive diagnosis of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) extend beyond reduced T-cell count and susceptibility to infection. Today, HIV-positive people continue to face discrimination in their everyday lives, in housing matters, medical care, insurance, and employment. The good news is that many charities and organizations all over the country are taking action.
Where we stand
In a report produced by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), testimonies from community based service providers (CBOs) consistently cite issues involving non-hiring, terminations, demotions, and illegally demanding personal information. While this is pronounced in rural areas, cases are similarly reported in major metropolitan centers as well.
Corroborating the findings of the ACLU's report, nationally known Lambda Legal, specialists in discrimination representation for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive people, receives thousands of calls annually at its help desk - a substantial portion coming from HIV positive callers- regarding workplace discrimination.
Know your Rights
Discrimination is never acceptable and there are many federal laws protecting individuals, including those with HIV AIDS. Federal laws that define and protect against HIV AIDS discrimination include American with Disabilities Act (ADA), Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Health Insurance Profitability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) Civil Rights Act of 1964, Equal Pay Act of 1963, Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. Together they form an extensive network of safeguards against unjust treatment.
ADA and "Reasonable Accomodation"
The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) mandates that employers (in companies with more than 15 employees) must make "reasonable accommodation" for qualified employees with a disability -under which a person who is HIV positive is grouped. As a result, adjustments to a job, the application process, or work environment must to a degree that allows a qualified person to perform the job.
Now, there are legal limits to restrict accommodations to be "reasonable". The understanding is that an adjustment does not cause undue strain to the company, which is determined based on operating budget, facility size, number of employees, and more. Acceptable and expected accommodations include an alteration in job structure, more flexible hours to allow for medical appointments, or special office arrangements including a sitting stool if the job is usually performed standing up.
Knowledge and education are needed to prevent discrimination in the workplace. Here are some resources that provide HIV AIDS information and services: http://www.cdcnpin-broadcast.org/

Texas May Be Handing Out More Death Sentences - The US Is Infecting Mexico With HIV

The United States may be infecting Mexico with H.I.V., not the other way around. According to 2006 United Nations' statistics, Mexico's AIDS rate is about half of the U.S.'s, and a high percentage of new HIV infections in Mexico are traced back to migrant workers returning home from America. Twenty-two percent of patients with HIV at Puebla General Hospital (Puebla, Mexico) can trace their infections back to the U.S.
The news may come as a shock to many in the border regions of Texas, where illegal immigrants are often blamed for the state's growing healthcare crisis. Texas' healthcare system is overloaded with uninsured patients commuting from rural areas to the larger cities of Dallas, Houston, and Austin to seek care. As a result of these, and other, unreimbursed costs for the uninsured, most private, family health insurance premiums in Texas are higher than the rest of the nation's.
In the thirty-two counties comprising Texas' border region, 85% of the population was Hispanic in 2003, but only 9.8 in 100,000 were infected with HIV. In contrast, more than twice -- 22 in 100,000 -- on average, in the same year were infected statewide. In fact, Harris County accounts for the highest rate of HIV infections in the state.
Between 41% and 79% of Mexicans infected with HIV lived in the U.S., according to statistics collected from 1983 to the early '90s. Mexico has not reported comprehensive studies since then, however, and it seems up to joint initiatives, such as studies conducted by the California-Mexico AIDS Initiative, to gather information that reflects the current state of affairs.
Mexico's AIDS epidemic is still mostly confined to prostitutes and their clients, gay men, and IV drug users. Infected individuals between the ages of 15 and 49 account for only 0.3% of the population, as opposed to 0.6% in the U.S. Rural migrant workers, however, are slowly becoming a high-risk category on their own. Rural areas, where there is the least access to healthcare and testing, also boast the highest migration rates due to the poor economy. Combined, such factors create a near-perfect atmosphere in which the virus can explode. In fact, for most Mexican women, their greatest risk of contracting the disease is from having unprotected sex with their migrant-worker husbands.
"Migration leads to conditions and experiences that increase risks," said George Lemp, an epidemiologist and director of the University of California's AIDS research program. He and colleagues are studying the spread of HIV/AIDS among migrants, and says that isolation, different sexual practices, language barriers (including to health services), depression, loneliness, and abuse all contribute to the growing rate of infection. Migrants tend to have more sexual partners than those who stay at home, and there is a considerable lack of condom usage among this population, due, in part, to cultural factors. Migrant women may also be particularly vulnerable, as their risks of sexual abuse and rape are much greater.
Jennifer S. Hirsch, professor of public health at Columbia University, published an article earlier this month in the American Journal of Public Health citing evidence supporting the notion that part of the problem may actually be the emotional fidelity of many Mexican migrant-worker husbands. Rather than forming long-lasting relationships with women in the U.S., they instead seek sexual outlet with high-risk individuals providing short-term interaction, such as prostitutes.
But the subject is often taboo among couples, and routine HIV screenings are still not common. Many women, in fact, only discover they are infected after giving birth to an HIV-positive child. Mexico does provide antiretroviral drugs to even the poorest of migrant workers once diagnosed, but sacrificing the time and finances to travel to cities where they are distributed is a major obstacle. Lack of testing and treatment, in turn, increase the risk of transmitting the disease, especially in a culture in which condom usage is limited, infidelity not discussed, and screenings not routine.
Being aware of your HIV status is an important part of monitoring your health. How you take care of yourself will certainly affect you as you age, and eventually your wallet, as well. If you’re a young individual who tries to keep informed and maintain a healthy condition and lifestyle, you should take a look at the revolutionary, comprehensive and highly-affordable individual health insurance solutions created by Precedent specifically for you. Visit our website, www.precedent.com, for more information. We offer a unique and innovative suite of individual health insurance solutions, including highly-competitive HSA-qualified plans, and an unparalleled "real time" application and acceptance experience.

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