A complaint of HIV discrimination lodged by a man in Brooklyn, N.Y. who alleged he was denied an opportunity at a city job because of his HIV-positive status, recently received a credible boost when the U.S. attorney in Manhattan took up the cause. The federal government is now suing New York City for discrimination.
Ultimately, HIV discrimination is a form of disability discrimination, which is forbidden under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Stigma surrounding HIV and its association with the LGBT community has been difficult to overcome, and as this case shows, it clearly hasn’t been eliminated. We are 30 years into the HIV/ AIDS epidemic and employers are still making hiring/ firing decisions based on misinformation of what it means to live and work with it.
According to The New York Post, plaintiff said he applied for a job as a New York Police Department technician. That was in 2013, and he was given an offer of conditional employment. He then went through a series of background checks and medical tests. It was at that time that he revealed he was HIV-positive, meaning he has been diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. At that point, the police department requested additional blood testing. Soon thereafter, plaintiff was told he was medically disqualified from the job because he had HIV low CD4 count. For those who may be unfamiliar, the CD4 cell count is a means of measuring the health of a person who has the HIV virus. If a person has a high count, they are considered fairly healthy. However, a person with a low CD4 count is not considered healthy. Continue reading