Meds, Mind, Body & Benefits > Questions About Treatment & Side Effects

Atripla and pre-employment drug screening

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ivanko69:
During a recent job interview with a small staffing company, I was asked by the interviewing recruiter if I would be able to pass a routine drug screen, which they (the staffing firm) collects (UA specimen) there, at the staffing office. I replied "certainly" without hesitation due to the fact that I do not use recreational drugs or even consume alcohol for that matter. At that moment however, I recalled reading several posts on thebody.com, whereby Atripla (which I have been prescribed) can/may cause a false positive reading for THC, or marijuana usage. I STUPIDLY found myself explaining to this recruiter that I was taking a prescription medication that could cause a false positive reading, to which she inquired the name of the drug and how to spell it. Knowing damn good and well once I left her office she would go online to find out what it (Atripla) is used to treat anyway, I decided (out of absolute desperation for employment) to just go ahead, skip the bullshit, face my fears and tell her. I have never felt so humiliated in my entire life as I felt having to divulge such private and sensitive information to a complete stranger, completely at her mercy and judgement, all for a $12.00/hr job that I desperately need.... to live.
She continued to smile as I spoke in probably what was to be her best ever HR performance. I explained that I had my own health insurance and that I was in no way seeking employer sponsored insurance (read between the lines...I won't send anyone's premiums through the roof...I'm already covered), but that I did need the income, least to offset the medical co-pays, and a 401K would be nice as well !!!. The job for which I was applying was not only very close to my home and had the perfect 2nd shift hours that I need (so that all of these doctors appointments could be scheduled for early AM without having to "ask" for any time off), but I was also perfectly qualified and well suited for the position as she agreed PRIOR to my "moment" of truth. I am a US citizen, have all my teeth, can hold an intelligent conversation, am easy on the eyes, a pleasure to work with,....and way,way too honest.
The job position was taken off their website two days  after my interview and not because I got it.
I could never prove in a court of law that my application was trashed the moment I walked out of her office, but let's be realistic.
My question is this. How does one disclose the use of such medication with the likelyhood it will fail a necessary UA without becoming subject to the judgements of those who ultimately decide my candidacy for employment, be it through a temp agency or direct hire. Short of stopping treatment altogether, I don't know what else to do. Sure, I could provide a written note from my M.D., but that raises suspicion in and of itself. I feel so trapped by this employment/medication issue.I'm damned if I do, and damned if I don't.
Feedback anyone???

Sydney:
My heart bleeds for your situation, and I don't know that I have the answer.  All I can say is what I'd do in that situation. 

* Firstly, prior to the interview I'd try to get some information about the likelihood of a false drug reading - a "theoretical possibility" is quite different to a likelihood.
* Bone up on the relevant HREO legislation (in Oz, that's "Human Rights and Equal Opportunity" legislation, enacted for these sorts of situations.)  You need to be very clear about your rights before going into an interview or work situation
* Then I would do the interview without disclosing my HIV status or medication (unless there's a need-to-know/right-to-know scenario). I would do this in the hope that there were no problems with the drug screening results.   If there are no problems - all's sweet. 
* Only if a "false positive" result came up would I consider the possibility of disclosing the issue of medication and it's consequences.
* I wouldn't be prepared to disclose the name of the medication (rights to privacy), but I would have, ready-prepared, a medical statement to the effect that I was on a medication that could result in false-positives on drug screening tests.  Check whether there are independent and confidential medical resources that can "vouch for the truth" of your statements (In the public service here in Oz, there are such bodies that ensure confidentiality and protect the rights of the employer)
* Most importantly, I'd try to make sure all relevant communication between us was in writing (emails, etc) - so that there's a paper trail of the process for accountability under   

I hope some of these ideas help - and all the very, very best.

MYSTERY:
I just got done taking a UA for a job. I have been on Atripla for awhile and also was in fear of the information I had recieved on thebody.com. I have run into a artical that gave me information about a certain UA test to request, and when I had them run this specific UA test my UA came back ok...Check out this info and It will be useful to anyone taking a job related UA. Good luck.

According to a respondent on this site who went through the same experience with Sustiva, you can ask whether the sample will be subjected to GC/MS (gas chromatography/mass spectometry) testing. IF so, you'll be fine. If the sample is subjected to a different test and it comes back positive for cannabis, ask that it be re-evaluated with GC/MS. Explain that you are on medication that can yield a false result, but do not identify the med. Offer to have your doc write a confirmatory letter about the false positive WITHOUT naming the med or your diagnosis. All this is valid unless you do smoke pot, in which case this advice wouldn't help you, of course.

Even if your HIV status were known by your prospective employer, your status should not prevent you from being hired. But that's ideal. You're smart to protect your privacy. Strength to you!


ivanko69:
Thank you both for cluing me in with some much appreciated advice. It is a very sticky situation nonetheless, yet I will be better prepared when and if I do have another job interview (if ever in this economy). I plan on speaking with my MD about this and will inquire if possibly I can even be taken off Atripla and perhaps subbed out with a compropable, less telling form of medication, least till I am gainfully in the door! Afterall, the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. :-X
Honestly, I was so excited about getting that interview till the last thought that ever entered my mind was the situation that unfolded and how I reacted by relaying my HIV status to this employment agency simply because I felt cornered and desperate for the position.
Knowledge is power and I thank you both.
ATL

RICKY77531:
hello, at my current job we go through various numerous random drug test and have to take a yearly physical that requires testing for drugs...I was also very afraid since I am on Atripla for a about a year,  after asking my doc for advice, he responded that if it comes out in the test a futher result or another testing is required, but in my experience at the labs never have I ever tested for a false positive, also I could obtain a letter from the doctor proving that I take a prescription that gives a false postive... there are many drugs, herbs that are legal that can give false positives...hope I could help... 

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