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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 status.  And the Department of Justice agrees with us.  They issued a letter last year about the problem of trade schools and licensing agencies illegally excluding people with HIV. You can read the letter here.

So we wrote our own little letter to the attorneys for the university.  And lo and behold, they quickly responded and told us we are exactly right.  They claimed the student health form was a “mistake” (so, um, it just mistakenly popped up on their website of its own volition?).  Anyway, they took down the form and put a disclaimer on their website informing applicants that anyone who had filled out a health form would have it returned and that health information would not be used to make admissions decisions.

So that’s a big hooray for the home team.

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