Wednesday, January 28, 2009

HIV infection still an issue for overseas deployment in some civilian jobs

HIV infection still is leading to civilian employment issues in some sensitive situations. A former green beret, now HIV+ without symptoms and identified only as John Doe, was denied deployment overseas protecting diplomats by security firm Triple Canopy. The company says that State Department rules do not allow deployment of persons with permanent communicable diseases in sensitive locations, because of the possibility of an incident, or of the person’s being away from possible medical treatment. The issue has occurred before with the Foreign Service.

People infected with HIV cannot join the military, and that has never been controversial (unlike the military gay ban) although they may stay in if infected while on active duty (and often did in the 1980s). In this case, the male individual could have been infected by heterosexual conduct, even on active duty, particularly if infection transmission occurred overseas, as in Africa. It’s unlikely to have been acquired outside of sexual contact.

The Washington Post has a story Jan. 28 in the Business Section, p D01, by Joe Davidson, “In Dangerous Locales, HIV Discrimination Isn’t an Open-and-Shut Case”, link here.

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