- 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
- 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,