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Ring Ring…1986 Called and Wants Its Knee-Jerk Fear Back

A couple weeks ago we got  a call from a guy who was planning to submit an online enrollment form to a paramedic program at a major Chicago university.  But whaddya know, the application included a student health form that asked just about every intrusive health question you can imagine, including whether he has HIV. Wait a minute, aren’t we finished with this nonsense?  Aren’t we past the days when supposedly enlightened officials insist that people with HIV are “too risky” to be paramedics, or dental hygienists, or day care workers? OK, OK, we know that the form doesn’t say that people with HIV are barred from the program.  But hey, after 25 years on the job, we’re admittedly a little prickly on this issue.  It seemed to us that a paramedic school has no business asking about a prospective student’s HIV...

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South Carolina Prisons and Basic HIV Science: Never the Twain Shall Meet

Perhaps you’ve heard that the U.S. Department of Justice is threatening to bring suit against the South Carolina Department of Corrections for its treatment of prisoners with HIV. While the rest of the country (almost) has figured out that HIV-positive prisoners don’t need to to segregated from the general prison population, South Carolina persists (along with that other bastion of progressive thought, Alabama). And mind you, South Carolina keeps HIV-positive prisoners in maximum security units. If that’s not bad enough, the South Carolina Department of Corrections also bars HIV-positive prisoners from certain types of prison jobs, including kitchen work. Has anyone in South Carolina bothered to note that the CDC has never included HIV on its list of conditions that preclude people from food handling? Are these people still living in 1981? HIV-positive inmates are also ineligible for work...

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More Idiot Chronicles

We had a little flashback to 1983 this week, when a client called with a story that seemed to come straight from those days of ignorance and intolerance. Sheila works transporting passengers who need assistance, typically the elderly and disabled. When she started the job about six months ago, she hired a good family friend, Angela, to babysit her young children. But last week Sheila began to suspect that Angela might be mistreating her kids, so she fired her. Angela didn’t take kindly to losing her job, so she decided to make life difficult for Sheila. Angela didn’t know that Sheila had HIV, but she did know that Sheila was getting housing assistance from a certain social service agency in Chicago. So she called that agency, pretending to need help, and asked how she could become eligible for services....

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Hooray for President Bush (No, Really)

  Yippy skippy! If you have been keeping up with our lovely little blog, you read last week that Congress passed important amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act, expanding the protections this law gives to people with disabilities (you can read that post here: http://alcc-legalpad.blogspot.com/2008/09/hooray-for-110th-congress.html). Well, we’re happy to report that President Dubya himself signed these amendments into law today. So call the Prez and give him a big...

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Hooray for the 110th Congress

Everyone loves to complain that our elected officials don’t care a petootie about the real struggles of everyday people. Well whaddya know, it seems the current Congress cares a whole lot about everyday people with disabilities — including people with HIV. To prove it, they’ve just passed powerful amendments to the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). If President Bush signs the bill — and he says he will — legal advocates will have stronger weapons to fight discrimination against people with disabilities. The ADA was created in 1990 and signed into law by Bush, Sr. Its intent was to provide sweeping protection for people with disabilities who for decades had been systematically denied full access to and participation in American society, particularly in the area of employment. The ADA said that employers could no longer discriminate against employees simply...

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