As caregiver and owner of the house, can I legally ask if she has HIV/AIDS?

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Hello I want to take care of an elderly woman at my home, I will cook, clean, laundry, helping her with dressing, bathing and she will have her own bathroom and bedroom.

My question will be: Can I legally ask if she has HIV/AIDS? or ask her the contact of her doctor to ask him?

I want to make sure the person won't put my family health in danger and I don't want to be sued for asking the question.

Thank you for any help!

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Shane--
Sorry I kind of "lost it" on you.
I guess I am still a little sensitive about the stigma of HCV. I know personally, that it is really, really hard to catch. REALLY HARD.

I kept a clean house, but with 5 kids? Who has time to bleach every surface hubby touched or sneezed over? I handled his bloody bandages & many sutures with (I'm sure) cuts on my own hands.

I've had a lifetime of knowledge, firsthand about how hard it is to get this disease, which by the way, is hell. Lucky for my DH, he doesn't drink at all, alcohol will flare up HCV into cirrhosis faster than you can imagine. They used to think it was sort of a benign disease--now they know that it almost always shows up about the 4th decade after contracting, causing serious problems. DH was dxed with Primary Liver Cancer 13 years ago, and was given 6 months to live.

In truth, both HIV and HCV are awful diseases and nobody 'deserves' to get them.

We actually know a lot of people who had HCV---due to meeting them at clinics and support groups. Not one single person had infected anyone else. NOT ONE. (I'm not saying it doesn't happen, I'm just saying that among the 100+ people we met, it had not occurred.)

I'm NOT so well educated about HIV. Hope to not have to be!
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Reply to Midkid58
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I meant the Hep C virus lives longer on surfaces vs HIV. Nothing more. 

I can’t say which is worse not having had either. 

Bleach kills both but if not sanitized Hep C virus lives on surfaces and outside the body longer thus chances are higher to “contract” HCV. 
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Reply to Shane1124
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The Hep C virus is dang hard to "catch". My DH had it for over 40 years. We didn't even KNOW until we'd been married for 20+ years. I'd had 5 kids with him, shaved with his razor, brushed my teeth with his toothbrush (yeah, that's kinda gross, I know).

NOT ONE OF US IN THE FAMILY "caught" HepC. I was tested as soon as he received his DX, and I was clear, as I knew I would be. The kids, as they turned 18, were all told and were tested. 2 of them were in their 20's at the time of DX. The girls had certainly swiped his razor more than once.....nope, not one of them had it.

I KNOW that they 'classify' HCV as a sexually transmitted disease, but in actuality, in real life, it is not. I will agree that the virus is pretty awful.

HIV is often co-morbid with HCV due to shared needle usage. HCV sits dormant for a long time, but when it rears its ugly head--yowza. HIV is more "virulent" earlier.

I know my DH's MANY drs will tell you that while neither HIV nor HCV is "fun"--they will argue with you that HCV is "easier" to contract. NOT ONE of the many, many docs associated with my DH's care EVER worried about me contracting it, even though I engaged in "risky" behavior--shaving with his razor--taking care of various cuts and scrapes and actually removing stitches from my hubby following a LOT of injuries. Did I always "glove up?" Heck no.

We were open with people about DH's HCV. Lost a lot of friends who were too ignorant to know he wasn't "catching"--and this includes his own mother, who will not come to our home for fear of catching it.

I had to laugh at an old lady at church who found out my DH had HCV--she asked, in a horrified "church voice" "Oh, my!! Well, I hope you're using "protection". This, after having 5 kids with him and he was HCV+ for ages before we even knew.

Oh, and when I worked Elder Care, I DID have to tell my bosses. And my client and her family knew. No problem. The husband of the client's family was a dr and he was totally fine with it. Worst thing about HCV (besides the liver cancer and the resulting transplant and chemo) was the ignorance that people showed about it. Definitely weeds out the "friends" you think you have.

OK, off the soapbox.
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Reply to Midkid58
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Agree with Sue. As health care workers we are all taught infection control/universal precautions and in my nursing positions over the years we were retrained twice a year & this was mandatory.
Hep C is easier to “catch “ than HIV. Both are transmitted via blood and body fluids. The Hep C virus is actually more virulent than HIV.
If you have a concern that one or any of your patients are HIV positive, please reconsider agreeing to take care of them. It’s not fair to them to expect any less care than an HIV negative person.
It’s alright for you to feel however you do about exposing family to HIV but again please reconsider agreeing to care for the HIV positive patient. Universal precautions are standard in health care as we assume everyone is positive for HIV or hepatitis, thus personal protective precautions should be used when performing any type of care.
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Reply to Shane1124
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Sue is absolutely spot on!
And we certainly do not have the right to know another persons status.
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Reply to Maya86
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Cokita, I feel we have A RIGHT TO KNOW if someone is HIV positive.I feel for you girl. Forget about laws, ethics, discrimination, Hippa etc. The reality of it is I am a nurse for 34 years and HIV scares me. I know about universal precautions, been practicing my entire career. Let's face it gloves don't protect from sharps. Patients who are confused sometimes bite, scratch, can move abruptly when you are performing a duty with bodily fluids. What about an emergency situation. A patient is on blood thinners and falls, blood everywhere because skin thin. I knew w the others are protecting the clients/ patients rights. But, to me I treat +HIV different than negative HIV patients and I should have a right. We as individuals, in the year 2018 are under surveillance most of the time no matter where we are. Are phones can track us. Governments knows are every move. But, as healthcare providers we don't have the right to know if the persons we are treating have HIV. I will never agree with that. It's ok to know if they have mental illness, cancer, etc. And to the others who said Dr's and Dentist do not ask if their patients if they have HIV. I don't agree. I fill out new patient forms and the question is there. Do you have HIV? Why can a doctor or dentist ask, but not a nurse or caregiver who comes in contact with these patients everyday for many hours. You protect yourself and your family. I've been accidentally, stuck with a needle from another person ( an intern). It's rare but sh** happens and when it happens to you , it matters. Again, I am in the minority with this attitude. Be safe!
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Reply to Ilovemycats
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When I was looking for private duty companies, eventually the first thing I did was review the contract before going any farther. Some had provisions authorizing, at client expense, the testing of bodily fluids with which a caregiver might come in contact. The justification was broad; it could easily have included a test for HIV.

However, based on what I saw with 2 of the unsatisfactory caregivers( who didn't put on gloves until I asked them to), and given the sloppiness of their work, I think we were in more danger from them than they were from us.
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Reply to GardenArtist
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Cokito,
It's illegal to DISCRIMINATE against people with HIV.

So, if you ask (which is none of your business) and are told "yes" THEN refuse to provide services....that's illegal.
It is unethical to ask a person their status.

Like Veronica said, it is not easy to "catch" HIV.

FYI, you don't "catch" AIDS. AIDS is the result of having untreated HIV, and ending up with a secondary opportunistic infection e.g. (Kaposi's sarcoma (a cancer) or PCP- pneumocystis carini pneumonia).

If an HIV positive person is regularly taking antiretroviral medication (to keep the virus from replicating and therefore spreading) and their viral load (how much HIV virus they have in their blood) is non-detectable (under 40) chances of getting HIV from them is nil. 

Many HIV medicines (that function by incapacitating the virus in different ways) are combined now into one pill. Gone are the days when you took handfuls of pills.
They also have a drug (a combination of 2 drugs in 1 pill) that prevent catching the virus from an infected person from unprotected sex. 
They even have an "HIV morning after" pill for unprotected exposure the day after the incident.

Of course use gloves for all body fluids contact. But getting contaminated blood on your skin is not going to give you HIV. The fluid has to get INTO your body (usually through open skin or mucous membranes).

If you use Universal Precautions- gloves and face shield (if working with spattering blood) you would be well protected. Old, dried blood is non contagious, only fresh, wet blood has that potential. Also, (the nurse's creed), wash your hands after patient contact (or use disinfectant gel).

And No, you can't catch HIV from hugging and kissing someone infected.

Because of HIPPA laws, the doctor nor any medical personnel can NOT disclose ANY medical information about you.

I have been a nurse for 39 years and some of my patients were HIV positive. I do not have it.

Please educate yourself on the disease. It has quite the stigma and a lot of misinformation is out there.

There are a lot of other 'great' diseases out there you should be more worried about (hepatitis, tuberculosis, etc.)

Hope this helps.
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Reply to SueC1957
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If you're a caregiver, there is this thing you should probably know about. It's called Universal Precautions. Prevents disease transmission.
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Reply to BarbBrooklyn
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I think it is prudent for anyone careing for another to always use gloves when providing personal care, it protects both the patient and caregiver. Bodily fluids are the main danger so avoid them at all costs. Wear gloves when cleaning the room, wash laundry seperately. Wash dishes properly in the dishwasher or very hot water, just sensible things.
Everyone is terrified of HIV/Aids but it is actually not very contagious unless you come in contact with bodily fluids.
Remember that people with these conditions move freely in our communities and touch everything everyone else touches. Wash your hands thoroughly or if you like also use sanitizer.
There are plenty of other diseases out there for everyone to catch so sensible precautions are the rule.
It is probably against HIPPA regulations to ask about specific diseases. Have you ever checked into a hotel and been asked that question. Even the dentist won't ask but they protect themselves.
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Reply to Veronica91
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