Workplace drug testing is a tool that many companies use for hiring new employees and to ensure the safety of workers and reputation of the business.
A worker with a drug habit may be an unreliable, unsafe worker. While many have come to accept this workplace drug testing as the norm, there are concerns over the ethics and practices.
Some employees may feel unfairly singled out from the rest of the workforce and fear discrimination. If this is the current state for workers with recreational drug habits, the problem is worse for HIV-positive employees.
HIV blood screening can determine which employees are currently infected. The results could have an impact on the stigma placed on workers and their prospects.
It is, therefore, important to encourage positive forms of HIV testing in the workplace while worker’s rights remain protected.
There is a difference between HIV testing and HIV screening. One is helpful; the other could be discriminatory.
There are always concerns with workplace testing that employees are being singled out for screening and could face discrimination and unfair consequences. This is sometimes the case with workplace drug testing, and it is also true for HIV tests.
Companies would argue that HIV screening works the same way as drug testing. They may feel that an HIV-positive employee could be a risk because of their poor health.
Therefore, screening the blood of workers helps to determine which employees pose that risk. However, there are issues with the accuracy of HIV blood tests and the privacy of the patient.
There are understandable fears over the implications of workplace HIV tests. Also, access to ART treatment means that many patients can live healthier, more productive lives with no impact on their profession.
This is where HIV screening is problematic. However, there are positive sides to workplace HIV tests when dealt with correctly. Healthcare programs that encourage workers to get tested and learn their status can be a great help in many workforces.
These policies could help to decrease the gap between the number of infected individuals and the percentage aware of the fact. However, there are sure to be concerned about how the company uses the information if the tests are part of workplace testing.
There are workplace testing laws that can help, as well as government agencies.
The good news for HIV-positive individuals is that there are laws in place. The Americans with Disabilities Act forbids the screening of employees for HIV/AIDS.
These blood tests are a means of singling out employees and determining their ability to perform based on their health. Variations in state laws can help here.
Florida companies cannot use test results to determine the suitability of employment. Massachusetts law states that there should be no requirement of employees to take an HIV test.
Also, companies are strongly encouraged to use MROs (medical review officers). They are an important resource in workplace testing as they can determine the legitimacy of results and guide employers.
Another important resource for companies is BRTA – Business Responds to AIDS. This is an initiative from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that works with employers to help HIV-positive employees.
The idea is to provide the right form of HIV testing in the workplace and to ensure workers are free from discrimination. This means a strong program of workplace programs for testing, treatment, and education.
A key focus here is corporate social responsibility. The means that major companies have a responsibility to keep workers safe, offer the best healthcare provision and protect them from stigma.
This is crucial in a nation where education on HIV lacks in many areas. Also, there is still that large percentage of infected individuals that are currently unaware of their status.
Ultimately, attitudes can vary from company to company and workers need protection.
There are three types of the workplace when it comes to HIV testing. There are those that can ignore the issues entirely, those that seek to educate and support and those that use HIV-positive results to discriminate.
Workplace testing for HIV doesn’t have to be discriminatory and frightening. There is no reason for companies to use results against employees.
There is still a place for HIV testing opportunities for all to help communities know their status. As long as employers are sensitive, supportive and law-abiding, there is potential.