The current version of the Tennessee Workers’ Compensation Act provides that compensable injuries ““[d]o not include . . . [a] disease in any form, except when the disease arises out of and in the course and scope of employment.” TENN. CODE ANN. § 50-6-102(12)(C)(i)(2013). Generally, this will only be occupational diseases. However, some case law has allowed the potential for recovery for actual exposure to HIV as a mental injury. See e. g., Guess v. Sharp Mfg. Co. of Am., a Div. of Sharp Electronics Corp., 114 S.W.3d 480, 487 (Tenn. 2003)

Under the Act, occupational diseases are “all diseases arising out of and in the course of employment.” TENN. CODE ANN. § 50-6-301(12)(C)(i)-(ii) (2013). The Act lays out 6 criteria for determining whether the occupational disease arises out of employment:
  1. It can be determined to have followed as a natural incident of the work as a result of the exposure occasioned by the nature of the employment;
  2. It can be fairly traced to the employment as a proximate cause;
  3. It has not originated from a hazard to which workers would have been equally exposed outside of the employment;
  4. It is incidental to the character of the employment and not independent of the relation of employer and employee;
  5. It originated from a risk connected with the employment and flowed from that source as a natural consequence, though it need not have been foreseen or expected prior to its contraction; and
  6. There is a direct causal connection between the conditions under which the work is performed and the occupational disease. Diseases of the heart, lung, and hypertension arising out of and in the course of any type of employment shall be deemed to be occupational diseases.

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