What STD Outbreaks in the Workplace Could Mean for Employers

Two years ago, health officials in Oklahoma City were stunned by a fast-spreading outbreak of syphilis which, for almost two decades, was considered to be dead. Oklahoma had detectives specifically dedicated to finding the cause and tracking down everyone affected, but the outbreak raises a bigger question – how can employers legally and practically protect their employees against an STD epidemic?

Astonishing Syphilis Outbreak

Syphilis is a deadly sexually transmitted infection that can lead to blindness, paralysis, and dementia. Not only in Oklahoma, but around the whole country; a consequence of the heroin and methamphetamine crises, as users trade sex for drugs.

Containment and Prevention

When the outbreak began, many doctors had not seen a case since the late 90s so syphilis was often misdiagnosed. The lab testing process was antiquated and, although syphilis can be cured with an injection, there was a shortage of the antibiotic, made only by Pfizer, for over a year.

Funding for clinics dedicated to preventing STDs was another big issue because there have been cuts to the federal prevention budget. Without the budget for treatment and prevention, outbreaks like the one in 2017 will only spread and continue to infect many unsuspecting citizens.

What Do STD Outbreaks Mean for Employers?

Outbreaks like the one in Oklahoma are dangerous because many different people can have infected partners before they realize that there is an STD problem. This could mean that one of your employees is infected without ever knowing about it. Office romances take on another level of dangerous when you consider that some partners may have an undiagnosed STD.

Legally, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees with HIV/AIDS but employees with other STDs like syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C, and gonorrhea are not protected under the ADA. Nor are employees with these STDs required to disclose that they have a disease.

Employers should work to educate their employees about the dangers of STDs and explain how these diseases can be spread. Education should stem from a place of understanding, not prejudice, and strive to make sure every employee understands their rights under the law and the availability of testing if they think they might have an STD.

TEST SMARTLY LABS OFFERS ACCURATE AND CONFIDENTIAL STD TESTING SOLUTIONS. IF YOUR BUSINESS IS IN NEED OF HEALTH AND WELLNESS TESTING, PLEASE CONTACT TEST SMARTLY LABS TODAY OR CALL (816) 800-9699.

LIKE us on Facebook to keep up with our specials and announcements! 

Test Smartly Labs

Test Smartly Labs of Independence 

Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City

Test Smartly Labs of Kansas City North

Test Smartly Labs of Lee’s Summit

Test Smartly Labs of Overland Park

Speak Your Mind

*