State Department Abolishes
AIDS Tests For Employees Abroad
By Kellie Lunney

Foreign nationals and U.S. citizens living abroad who are hired by the State Department will not be subject to HIV/AIDS testing, the agency announced last week.
Before the announcement, overseas posts were allowed to test foreign nationals and locally hired U.S. citizens for HIV/AIDS prior to--and during--employment. "We recommended that they didnít test, but we didnít force them to take that position" said Dr. Cedric Dumont, director of medical services at State.
The recent policy change banning pre-employment and periodic HIV/AIDS testing affects about 39,000 employees working at 265 State Department posts around the world.
Dumont said the decision to abolish the tests is consistent with the United Statesí message of non-discrimination in the workplace.
"We want to be a good employer, and this policy is consistent with our foreign policy in terms of the advice we give to foreign countries on how to treat people with HIV," he said.
Pre-employment and periodic HIV/AIDS testing is still mandatory for Foreign Service employees. Such employees must be available to travel anywhere in the world, and since adequate medical care for HIV/AIDS is not universally available, those testing positive for the virus are not allowed to join the Foreign Service, the State Department said in a statement.
The State Department has encouraged overseas offices to negotiate with local insurance carriers to expand medical coverage to include HIV/AIDS-related expenses. Such expenses could include the medicines that HIV/AIDS patients need to keep infections at bay.
The government is also urging overseas offices to create HIV/AIDS education and prevention committees to be responsible for educating employees about the virus and its symptoms.
All posts have been given guidance on setting up committees, Dumont said.


This Site Served by TheHostPros