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July 21, 2015

The Americans With Disabilities Act and HIV/AIDS Discrimination: Unfinished Business

Author Affiliations
  • 1O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Washington, DC
  • 2Lambda Legal, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 3AIDS Research Consortium of Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia
JAMA. 2015;314(3):227-228. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.6637

Twenty-five years ago when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was enacted, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and AIDS were significant sources of anxiety and public concern. There was only one transiently effective treatment, and HIV was the third leading cause of death in the United States among adults aged 25 to 44 years and the leading cause of death among black men and Hispanic men in this age group. Indeed, whether to include people living with HIV/AIDS under the umbrella of protection being established by this legislation was part of the congressional debate around the law.