President Reagan Tuesday directed all federal agencies to implement guidelines that bar discrimination against employees infected with the AIDS virus, but declined to back his AIDS commission's call for federal anti-discrimination legislation.
That recommendation, delivered to the White House by the AIDS panel in June, was referred to the attorney general for study.Meanwhile, Reagan said private and non-federal groups should consider adopting similar policies.
"I ask American businesses, unions and schools to examine and consider adopting education and personnel policies based on the OPM (Office of Personnel Management) and Centers for Disease Control guidelines," Reagan said in a statement.
Calling AIDS a "public health threat that has touched the lives of Americans with alarming speed and frightening consequences," Reagan issued what he called a 10-point action plan.
"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," Reagan said.
He did not appear at a White House briefing where the plan was presented by aides. Moments later, he spoke at a ceremony in the White House complex honoring senior federal employees.
The official White House response to the AIDS commission's 597 recommendations was coordinated by Dr. Donald Ian Macdonald, a special presidential assistant and director of the Drug Abuse Policy Office.
Defending the administration's refusal to support the AIDS commission's call for federal anti-discrimination legislation, Macdonald told reporters that 36 states already have similar laws.