Department of Justice warns states about discrimination against HIV-positive individuals

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The U.S. Department of Justice has sent a letter to the attorneys general of all 50 states requesting assistance in quashing discrimination against HIV-positive people in certain training programs.

“It is critical that we continue to work to eradicate discriminatory and stigmatizing treatment towards individuals with HIV based on unfounded fears and stereotypes,” Assistant Attorney General [for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E.] Perez said. “The ADA clearly protects individuals with HIV and other disabilities from this kind of exclusion or marginalization.”

The DOJ press release says the department has become aware “that public and private trade schools for barbering, cosmetology, massage therapy, home health care work and other occupations, as well as state licensing agencies, may be illegally denying individuals with HIV/AIDS admission to trade schools and/or occupational licenses because of their HIV status.”

The Department says that because HIV is not infectious during these job duties, the HIV antibody status of applicants and students is irrelevant.

Being HIV positive has long been considered a covered disability
under the Americans with Disabilities Act.