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Police Department Denies HIV-Positive Man a Job

A panel of three judges in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will deliberate the federal appeal of an Atlanta man who was barred from joining the police force because of his HIV status. "Richard Roe", his alias used in the case, claims that he passed several phases of the hiring process, including a written test, psychological exam, lie-detector test and background check but once he took the pre-employment physical exam and was found to be HIV-positive, the city declined to hire him. Roe, who was previously an investigator for the city of Los Angeles, applied for the position in 2006 and knew he had HIV since 1997. The physician who conducted the exam recommended that Roe have "no physical contact with individuals; no physical involvement with individuals," according to records.

Senior U.S. District Judge Marvin Shoob dismissed Roe’s case against the medical center, physician and city back in November 2010. Although the judge couldn’t confirm that police officers with HIV are a direct threat to others, he believed Roe failed to prove he wouldn’t pose a risk of transferring the sexually transmitted disease.

So… just what exactly is going on with the Atlanta Police Department that puts officers at risk just by working with someone who may be HIV positive? This isn't 1987; we know you can't get the disease from sharing a bottle of water or a toilet seat. How could a doctor make such a discriminatory recommendation?

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