Many municipalities, especially those with gay and drug abuse communities, are trying to cope with the AIDS problem. In addition to the issues of health care and prevention, their focus is drawn to discrimination policies as they relate to hiring carriers of AIDS or AIDS Related Complex.

Some local governments have recently decided that they will no longer require applicants for public health and safety jobs to disclose that they are carrying this contagious disease. New York City’s mayor was quoted as saying that if the hire is too sick to perform the job, it will be apparent during the physical exam or during the probationary period.

My immediate reaction is: What about all the other humans who have been rejected by job application only and didn’t get the “right” to fail, those that were prejudged as not being up to standard to perform life-safety functions because of their truthful answ ers to medical history questions? I think of all those who had less-than-perfect uncorrected vision or who wore contact lenses, or those with long-corrected, sports-related childhood injuries. I also think of all those rejected in the face of reams of expensive medical data substantiating that their irregular heartbeats w ere normal and athletic, and not murmurs or indicative of a degenerating disease. I think of all who fought this ty pe of discrimination by spending thousands of dollars in court to prove that a historical medical problem was corrected and would not impact the job for w hich they applied.

Secondly, I know that our emergency responders are petrified of interaction with AIDS virus carriers at the emergency scene. They must have quick and easy access to this vital medical history as soon as possible after caring for the victim.

Withholding this information from employment records seems to be just another step in keeping this vital information inaccessible to emergency response personnel who may be exposed to it.

Maybe we should just as vigorously pursue having the AIDS virus labeled by the legal community as the contagious disease that it is and ensure the rights of not only those that carry it, but also the rights of those who must come in contact with it.

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