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This year, December 1 marked World AIDS Day, a worldwide event meant to unite individuals across the globe in the fight against the HIV virus. Americans have made strides in the fight against HIV discrimination. Yet, a new study by the Williams Institute, a national think tank at UCLA Law, seems to demonstrate that individuals living with AIDS may still face an uphill battle for health services.
The study focused on 612 dental offices in Los Angeles County, and found that 5% of dentists surveyed had a blanket policy against admitting HIV-positive individuals as patients.
The report also indicated that 55% of obstetricians, 46% of skilled nursing facilities, and 26% of plastic surgeons would refuse medical service to those living with AIDS.
Health services providers that refuse treatment to HIV-positive individuals may be violating the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Specifically, health services providers must:
Medical care providers who refuse to treat HIV-positive patients on the basis that they don't have the necessary safety precautions may also be violating the ADA. This is because universally applicable safety precautions like donning a mask and gloves would safeguard against transmission of AIDS.
Officials, however, were largely pleased with the result of the Williams Institute study, reports the Huffington Post. While HIV discrimination still exists, perhaps it's gradually decreasing. Reportedly, 90% of dentists would admit patients regardless of their status. And hopefully, World AIDS Day continued to highlight the challenges that HIV-positive individuals face across the globe.