Discrimination Against People Living with HIV

People living with HIV are entitled to the same rights and opportunities they had before they tested positive for the virus.

Federal, state and local law specifically prohibit discrimination against people living with HIV in employment, housing and public accommodations. These laws protect all people living with HIV, including those who may be asymptomatic. People who are regarded as living with HIV or associating with people with HIV are also protected.

Consistent with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, the federal  Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will interpret and enforce Section 1557’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity.  

Some states and municipalities also prohibit discrimination based on  sexual orientation and  gender identity.  Pennsylvania’s anti-discrimination law does not offer this protection, although New Jersey does. 

Resources

Q&A: Americans with Disabilities Act and Persons with HIV/AIDS PDF

Question and answer PDF. The Americans with Disabilities Act and Persons with HIV/AIDS. Persons who are discriminated against because they are regarded as having HIV are also protected.

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Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended

The ADA prohibits disability-based discrimination in employment, state and municipal services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications.

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Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973

The Federal Rehabilitation Act prohibits disability-based discrimination by federal employers or contractors or by programs receiving federal financial assistance.

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Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA)

The PHRA prohibits disability-based discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and services, including state, county and local governmental agencies.

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Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs policy statement

Pennsylvania Department of State Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs has released a policy statement interpreting the term “infectious, communicable or contagious disease.” The statement says that occupational licensing requirements that exclude persons with “infectious disease,” “communicable disease” or “contagious disease” from certain occupations, does not include diseases, such as HIV, that are not transmitted through casual contact or through the usual practice of the profession or occupation for which a license is required.

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City of Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance

The PHRA prohibits disability-based discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations and services, including city services.

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U.S. Department of Justice HIV Settlements

The U.S. Department of Justice enforces the ADA in the public accommodations context.

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Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights

Notice: the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will interpret and enforce Section 1557’s prohibition on discrimination on the basis of sex to include: (1) discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation; and (2) discrimination on the basis of gender identity.

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