Society, including the legal profession, fears the risk of transmission of HIV in an occupational setting. This is particularly true for those in the health care and public safety settings (fire fighters, police, and healthcare practitioners). This note will assert that the law should afford HIV infected public safety and healthcare employees the right to continue in their occupations. According to current medical evidence, when public safety and healthcare employees use universal precautions the risk of transmission to a person(s) assisted is insignificant. At the beginning of the epidemic, the medical profession had yet to conduct research, and the risks of HIV/AIDS were largely unknown. Under those circumstances, it is understandable that the courts may have been overly cautious when confronted with cases involving HIV/AIDS. However, twenty years after the epidemic surfaced, the medical evidence should calm irrational fears that have plagued society. The misguided fear arises because the job duties of public safety and healthcare personnel may include direct contact with bodily fluids.
Manju Gupta, Occupational Risk: The Outrageous Reaction to HIV Positive Public Safety and Health Care Employees in the Workplace, 19 J.L. & Health 39 (2004-2005)