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“The only thing necessary for these diseases to the triumph is for good people and governments to do nothing.”

 
  


 

"Senator: Bills Give Inaccurate Picture of HIV Transmission"
Associated Press (04.30.01) Joel Stashenko

CDC HIV/STD/TB Prevention News Update
Tuesday, May 01, 2001
 
     New York's only acknowledged HIV-positive and openly gay
state lawmaker is opposing two bills designed to expand AIDS-
related health benefits, claiming the measures inaccurately
portray how the disease is transmitted. Sen. Thomas Duane (D-
Manhattan) said that the bills, which would provide enhanced
benefits for some employees who contract HIV, suggest that it is
far easier to be exposed to the virus on the job than it really
is.
     One of the bills Duane opposes, sponsored by Sen. John
Marchi (R-Staten Island), provides that New York City parking
control specialists, limousine commission inspectors, campus
police officers and some other employees should be entitled to
receive 75 percent disability pensions if they contract HIV. The
measure stipulates that it should be presumed that the workers'
HIV infection was contracted on the job unless it can be proven
otherwise. The second bill, sponsored by Sen. Mary Lou Rath (R-
Erie County), provides the same protections for paramedics in the
town of Tonawanda. And both bills include presumptions that if
workers get TB or hepatitis, those illnesses were contracted on
the job as well.

 



     Duane said both bills provide a distorted notion of what the
state Health Department and other agencies have recognized as the
ways the vast majority of people with HIV were exposed to the
virus. "It is not easy to contract HIV," Duane said. "It is
close to impossible to receive HIV during the normal course of
action during employment." That is especially true of such job
titles as limousine commission inspector or parking control
officer, Duane said. "I am by no means advocating for the denial
of disability pension benefits to those who do contract HIV on
the job through no fault of their own" such as when receiving a
tainted transfusion following an on-the-job accident, Duane.
"However, to presume HIV infection is contracted on the job is
ignorant."