It’s Time for Illinois to Smarten Up

Here’s a remarkably stupid bit of Illinois law that has annoyed and incensed us for about 20 years: school principals across the state must be given the names of HIV-positive students in their schools.  Furthermore, principals must disclose the names of those students to school superintendents.  And principals may identify those students to school nurses,…

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Cleaning Up Your Social Media

We often gets calls from people who tell us someone has disclosed their HIV status on Facebook.  Or Twitter.  Or MySpace.  Or any of a number of social media sites.  Is there anything you can do if this happens to you? We’ve put together a handy-dandy guide to protecting your confidentiality on all the major…

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Communicable? Not Anymore … And Never Really Was

Here’s a call we get with some regularity.  Someone gets a new job, and the employer presents a form that has to be filled out.  The form asks if the employee has any “communicable diseases.”  Oy gevult. Now, if you’ve got, say, bubonic plague, your employer would need to know.  But HIV?  Unless you’re a porn star…

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Stupidity Never Pays

Wrap your brain around this one. A pharmaceutical home delivery company dropped off our client Maria’s medications at a neighbor’s house — and right there visible on the packaging were the dreaded letters “HIV.” Maria wasn’t home when the medications were delivered. She is very protective of her confidentiality, and she had asked the delivery…

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Why You’re Glad You’re Not a Teenager Anymore

We got a call this morning that really got us thinking about the difficulties of facing HIV as an adolescent. Theresa called with concerns about her godson, Gerard. Gerard is 16 and has been HIV-positive since birth. Theresa has known about his status for his entire life, and when Gerard’s mother died she took him…

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Think Before You Blurt

And you thought doctors were supposed to be smart… Brian was hospitalized for a week last August. One day his friend Cheryl was visiting him when a doctor walked into his room. She introduced herself as the allergy specialist, and she’d come to check for any allergic response to the medications he’d been given. Then…

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The Ethicist is a Pinhead

So have you read the idiotic column in the New York Times by the self-appointed “Ethicist,” Randy Cohen? This chowderhead seems to be operating on pre-1983 knowledge of HIV. In his March 25, 2009 column, he addresses this antediluvian question: does a person with HIV have an ethical duty to disclose his HIV status to…

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If You Talk, You Pay

Remember the case of the loose-lipped phlebotomist? It has a happy ending. A few months ago we told you about Leonard, who got his blood drawn at a suburban hospital. He started chatting with the phlebotomist, and it turned out that her nephew worked in the same store as Leonard. A few weeks later, everyone…

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Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Give Blood

Here’s an infuriating case we got just this week. Our client — whom I’ll call Leonard — goes to a lab every 3 or 4 months so that his doctor can check his CD4 count and viral load. Last month he met with a new phlebotomist at the lab. The two of them got to…

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