Appendix VII, HIV/AIDS in the Workplace
- To inform contractors of their obligations to the Health and Safety Code, Chapter 85, Subchapter A. As an entity that contracts with or is funded by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) to operate a program involving direct contact with individuals, contractors are obligated to adopt and implement workplace guidelines based on the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) Model Workplace Guidelines.
- To provide information regarding the DSHS HIV/AIDS Model Workplace Guidelines and Model Educational Program.
Direct Service Contractor Requirements
- adopt and implement workplace guidelines based on guidelines in this appendix, for employees and individuals;
- provide education programs for employees and individuals;
- develop and implement guidelines regarding confidentiality of HIV/AIDS-related medical information for employees and individuals served by the entity. These guidelines must be consistent with federal and state law and regulations. Any entity that fails to adopt confidentiality guidelines is not eligible to receive state funds; and
- comply with all state and federal civil rights laws, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
DSHS HIV/AIDS Model Workplace Guidelines
To protect employment rights and privileges of both employees and individuals receiving services who are infected with HIV or AIDS through compliance with federal, state and local laws. This policy will provide Texas employers with a uniform approach to developing policies and education programs that address HIV/AIDS in the workplace. Employers can adapt this model to fit the particular needs of their organization, workforce and individuals who receive services However, the content and intent must remain consistent with this document and the Texas Health and Safety Code (HSC).
Governance for this policy is found in Vernon's Texas Codes Annotated, HSC §85.010, Educational Course for Employees and Clients of Health Care Facilities; §85.111, Education of State Employees; §85.112, Workplace Guidelines; and §85.113, Workplace Guidelines for State Contractors.
The model workplace guidelines were developed by the DSHS Tuberculosis (TB), Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and Viral Hepatitis (TB/STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis) Unit, as required by HSC §85.012. The Model Workplace Guidelines are found in HIV/STD Policy No. 035.001, and HIV/STD Policy No. 090.021. This policy serves as the minimum standard for contractors of designated state agencies (see the section below, State Agencies Listed Under HSC §85.113) and organizations funded by the designated state agencies. These guidelines are also the standard for health care facilities licensed by DSHS and HHSC as stated in HSC §85.113, Workplace Guidelines for State Contractors.
State Agencies Listed Under HSC §85.113
HSC §85.113, Workplace Guidelines for State Contractors, states, "An entity that contracts with or is funded by any of the following state agencies to operate a program involving direct contact with individuals shall adopt and implement workplace guidelines similar to the guidelines adopted by the agency that funds or contracts with the entity."
These agencies include:
- Texas Health and Human Services Commission
- Department of State Health Services
- Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse
- Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice
- Texas Juvenile Justice Department
DSHS Model Education Program
This policy provides Texas employers with rudimentary guidelines for developing and implementing an HIV/AIDS employee education program. The program focuses on the behavior and activities of employees at work and the impact of the disease on employees. However, employers are urged to consider program content that includes behaviors and activities away from work that may expose an employee to the disease and affect work life.
One of the missions of the DSHS TB/STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Unit is to prevent, treat and/or control the spread of HIV and AIDS (the HIV disease in its advanced stage). DSHS has the legislative direction and authority to develop model HIV/AIDS education programs for the public. State law requires employees of a health care facility licensed by HHSC to complete an educational course about HIV/AIDS. This course must be based on a model education program developed by the Unit.
Health and Safety Code, Title 1, §§85.001-85.010
Value of an Employee Education Program
An employee education program is an excellent opportunity to promote understanding and prevention of HIV/AIDS, as well as reducing fear and misinformation. An employee education program also can clarify issues about workplace rights and responsibilities related to HIV/AIDS.
A basic employee education program will:
- give accurate answers to basic employee questions about HIV/AIDS transmission, risk and prevention;
- discuss employer and employee rights and responsibilities, issues related to the ADA, medical confidentiality and reasonable accommodation;
- help all employees understand they can work safely alongside persons living with HIV/AIDS;
- promote a compassionate environment for employees living with HIV/AIDS by giving information about local resources, counseling, testing or support; and
- provide up-to-date continuing education about HIV/AIDS.
Information to Include in the Employee Education Program
- How the HIV disease is transmitted.
- Misconceptions about HIV transmission.
- How HIV transmission can be prevented, or the risks reduced.
- Laws and regulations governing risky behaviors related to HIV/AIDS.
- Company or agency materials on policies and procedures for handling HIV/AIDS in the workplace.
- Confidentiality and privacy requirements and agreements.
- Lists of HIV/AIDS prevention or treatment resources in the company and the community.
The most effective training is ongoing and includes discussion of issues affecting all employees. The contractor’s designated HIV/AIDS subject matter expert should answer employee questions, clarify the company's position on HIV/AIDS, provide guidance and build a safe, supportive employee environment.
Small group meetings are encouraged to enable the educator and employees to discuss many issues. Employers may involve labor groups, employee committees or community experts. Brochures, videos and other materials are available from the DSHS TB/HIV/STD/Viral Hepatitis Unit to reinforce and supplement small group meetings.
Involve the Employee's Friends and Family
During an HIV/AIDS education program, educators should encourage employees to share information with friends and family members. Sharing prevention information can increase awareness and reduce the risk of HIV infection, especially among young persons below 18 years of age.
Training for Management and Supervisory Personnel
Management staff may be fearful, misinformed or have widely varying knowledge about HIV/AIDS. Staff must be able to deal with employee concerns about HIV/AIDS and properly administer HIV/AIDS policies and procedures. A training program for managers should include:
- current information about HIV transmission and prevention;
- laws about confidentiality and related topics;
- personnel management, including relevant policies;
- development of staff problem-solving skills;
- a plan for periodic training;
- information for employee referrals for assistance; and
- information, along with a demonstration, on the proper use of universal precautions.
Assistance with Developing the Employer HIV/AIDS Education Program
Employers may contact the DSHS TB/STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Unit at:
DSHS TB/STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Unit
P.O. Box 149347, Mail Code 1873
Austin, TX 78714
Information sent by overnight delivery may be shipped to:
DSHS TB/STD/HIV/Viral Hepatitis Unit
1100 W. 49th St.
Austin, TX 78751
Where to Go for Help
Employees can visit www.knowmystatus.org (which includes information in both English and Spanish) or call 2-1-1 toll-free for information on HIV and sexually transmitted disease testing sites and service providers in Texas. The 2-1-1 resource provides information and referrals 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Information is provided in more than 90 languages. Calls are answered by the HHSC 2-1-1 Texas Information and Referral Network. Employees can also contact DSHS staff directly at 512-533-3000.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention
CDC HIV Prevention website.
CDC Business and Labor Resource Service
P.O. Box 6003
Rockville, MD 20849-6003
International Phone: 1-301-562-1098
International Fax: 1-301-562-1050
Information is available in both English and Spanish. The office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (EST). Learn about HIV/AIDS in the workplace and locate resources that assist in developing workplace policies and training.
CDC National AIDS Hotline – This is a toll-free service providing referrals and free educational materials to the public regarding AIDS transmission, prevention, risk reduction, testing, symptoms and other related issues. 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636) or 1-888-232-6348 (TTY), in both English and Spanish; 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. (EST) Monday through Friday (closed on major federal holidays). Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Information and educational materials also may be obtained by referring to the Unit’s internet website.
- Know My Status, DSHS website to learn about symptoms, prevention and treatment options.
- HIV/AIDS and the Workplace.
- El VIH, el SIDA, y el lugar de trabajo.
- Developed to meet the requirements for annual HIV/AIDS education for state employees set forth in Texas Health and Safety Code Section 85.111 [Texas Legislature].
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