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Division Policy 8.01

SUBJECT

Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and the Human Immunodeficiency Virus

EFFECTIVE DATE

September 30, 2000

REVIEW DATE

January 18, 2013

EXPIRATION DATE

This policy will be reviewed and updated as needed.

PURPOSE

To provide guidelines for eligibility determinations, scope of services, and continual service of persons who have been diagnosed with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and/or Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).

AUTHORITY

FS 384.29; Rehabilitation Act of 1973, As Amended

POLICY

Background

AIDS is caused by a virus called HIV. This virus enters the bloodstream and slowly destroys white blood cells, T-helper cell lymphocytes, that are vital to the human immune system. Therefore, the immune system is ineffective in fighting off the disease.

The incubation period of HIV can be several years or longer. Infected individuals may not even be aware that they are carrying the virus. When the supply of T-helper cell lymphocytes becomes critically low, the immune system can no longer function properly. The body then is attacked by opportunistic diseases, the most common of these being pneuocystis pneumonia and Kaposi's sarcoma.

Individuals with HIV positive results can adjust to prolonged periods of low-grade maladies, have extended healthy periods, or encounter episodic, severe medical problems. The timing and progression of HIV infected persons is unique to each case. Therefore, AIDS/HIV should be viewed as a chronic medical or disability condition, rather than as an automatically terminal illness. People with active AIDS conditions are surviving for extended periods of time and remain employed.

Guidelines

The guidelines to determine the eligibility, the scope of services, and continual services are outlined below:

Applicants with AIDS/HIV will receive the same treatment and be subject to the same eligibility criteria applied to others, as prescribed by federal and state statutes, regulations or policies. No individual should be denied services based on positive HIV findings.

Persons who have a positive antibody test for AIDS/HIV with none of the other complications and meet all other requirements are eligible for services.

As in the case of all clients, ensure that confidentiality is upheld. Florida Statute 384.29 specifically states that information regarding the client's HIV infection cannot be shared with anyone without the specific consent of the client. As a safeguard to the individual and to the agency, when an individual with HIV positive test results is sent to a private community rehabilitation program (CRP), the client and/or his/her representative should sign a release to send the medical records to these CRPs if the records are needed as part of the individual's rehabilitation program. A copy of the release should accompany the medical records when sent to these CRPs.

When an individual in the VR program requires prolonged medical care vocational rehabilitation services may be discontinued if it is determined that the individual can no longer benefit in terms of employment.

Original signed by Joyce Hildreth, Director, October 14, 2009