HIV/AIDS discrimination

Federal, state and local law prohibits discrimination against people with HIV/AIDS in all workplace settings, state and municipal services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, transportation, and telecommunications. The U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted federal law as protecting people with HIV – including those who may be asymptomatic, because the virus limits certain major life activities. The law also prohibits discriminating against a person with HIV/AIDS because an employer fears it will it will lose customers, or because co-workers are afraid of working with an HIV-positive person. It is also illegal to discriminate against someone who associates with a person with HIV/AIDS.


Feds Target HIV Discrimination By Health Care Providers. Click here for more.

                 (updated 4/1/13)


Questions and Answers: 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.

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.

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.

Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA): The PHRA prohibits disability-based discrimination in employment, house, public accommodations and services, including state, county and local governmental agencies.

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.

US Justice Department issues letter regarding illegal exclusion of individuals with HIV/AIDS from occupational training and state licensing. In his letter to the attorneys general, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez asked that they review their respective jurisdictions’ admission and licensing criteria for trade schools and licensing agencies to identify the existence of any criteria that unlawfully exclude or discriminate against persons with HIV/AIDS, and to take the steps necessary to bring all such programs into compliance with the ADA.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) allows a family member to take unpaid leave from their place of employment to care for an immediate family member (parent, spouse, and child) in certain circumstances.

City of Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance enforced by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. For additional information on the ADA, please visit AIDS Law Project founder and of counsel, David W. Webber’s AIDS and the Law website using the following links:

Reference Guide to HIV as an ADA Disability

EEOC’s New ADA Regulation

ADA.GOV/AIDS, U.S. Department of Justice