Statement Announcing a Human Immunodeficiency Virus Epidemic Action Plan

 

August 2, 1988

 

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), has moved through our society with tragic human consequences. It is a public health threat that has touched the lives of Americans with alarming speed and frightening consequences. It demands knowledge and attention by the best experts in our society. I am today ordering a number of actions to focus the efforts of the Government and private sector on this horrible human problem. These directives will assure compassion toward those with the HIV infection, provide dignity and kindness in treatment and medical care, and require that we inform and educate our citizens to prevent further spread of the disease.

 

We are today adopting a 10-point action plan to advance the battle against AIDS and HIV consistent with the recommendations of the Presidential Commission on AIDS. It is a wide-ranging plan that calls on the action and cooperation of all levels of our society. As a first step, I am today directing that every Federal agency adopt a policy based on Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidelines on how to treat HIV-infected persons in the workplace. I ask American businesses, unions, and schools to examine and consider adopting education and personnel policies based on the OPM and Centers for Disease Control guidelines. I am directing the Attorney General to provide me with an expeditious review of how the Federal Government should provide direction and leadership in encouraging nondiscrimination for HIV-infected individuals. We will also proceed to improve laboratory safety, accelerate drug approvals, evaluate the health care financing system, and pursue a multifocused international initiative, among other steps. I have asked Dr. Macdonald [Deputy Assistant to the President for Drug Abuse Policy] to monitor our response to the Commission's recommendations and report to me in September.