Supreme Court Gives 'Disabled' Status to HIV-Diagnosed People

The Supreme Court yesterday ruled that those who carry the HIV virus are disabled, meaning that they are entitled to the broad rights given to disabled people through the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA).

Deciding that an "HIV infection is an impairment which substantially limits the major life activity of reproduction," the court ordered a lower court to reconsider whether a Maine dentist violated the (ADA) when he refused to fill an HIV-positive woman's tooth in his office.

In its 5-to-4 ruling, the court said that people who carry the HIV virus are protected by the ADA, even if they suffer no symptoms of AIDS. "HIV infection satisfies the statutory and regulatory definition of a physical impairment during every stage of the disease," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court.

Public health authorities say there is no documented case of a dentist contracting the AIDS virus from a patient, and Justice Kennedy wrote that the dentist "had the duty to assess the risk of infection based on the objective, scientific information available to him and others in his profession."

The ADA, signed by President Bush in 1990, protects the disabled against discrimination in jobs, housing, and public accommodations such as dentists' offices.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK