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Landmark Victory! Kenyan Court Says No Firing For HIV Status


An HIV positive Kenyan woman made history by winning a settlement against her employer for unfair dismissal, a decision that should bring relief to 2.5 million (out of 35 million) Kenyans living with HIV or AIDS. The Court ruled that one cannot be fired for being HIV positive.

A doctor administered an HIV test when the woman went to the hospital complaining of chest pains. The doctor passed on the positive results to her employer, despite the fact that the patient had not consented to the test nor disclosure. The woman said that her co-workers knew she was positive before she did.

The Kenyan High Court ruled that testing employees, or prospective employees, without consent is unlawful, along with disclosing results to employers without permission. This landmark ruling — that one cannot be terminated for HIV status —undoubtedly boosts the rights of those living with HIV. Yet, I'm not sure how some of the consent protections will practically play out. If you want a job, and an employer asks you to consent to an HIV test, would you feel comfortable denying consent?

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