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Review of 1988 Opinion Concerning the Applicability of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act to Individuals Infected With HIV


The 1988 Office of Legal Counsel opinion accurately describes the duties imposed by section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act with respect to individuals infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus.

The subsequent passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act did not alter the analysis of cases arising under the Rehabilitation Act, although an amendment to section 504 now requires reference to standards set forth in the ADA.

Application of the standards set forth under section 504 in any particular case requires consideration of current scientific understanding of HIV infection. Advances in the scientific understanding of HIV infection since 1988 may undermine some of the discussion in the 1988 opinion about the application of these standards to individual cases.

Updated July 9, 2014