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Author Topic: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.  (Read 2466 times)

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Offline UK_SL

  • Member
  • Posts: 51
DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« on: December 28, 2009, 05:16:09 PM »
Hi everyone, I was diagnosed 3 months ago now and started with a very low CD4 and quite high Viral Load, due to dealing with the fact that I have been diagnosed and accepting it. I've also had to deal with the effects of the medication which I needed to start almost immediately after diagnosis.

I was signed off work at first for 2 weeks with a viral illness, 3 days into my sickness my employer rang me at home to ask me if I was able to come back because they had others on holiday. I said that I would need the full 2 weeks off, they also asked me what was wrong with me. I said that I didn't know and needed further testing. Near the end of my 2 weeks off I went into see my employer to arrange starting back, I said that I was suffering from extreme fatigue and side effects from the medication and that I wanted to come back but on reduced hours (I normally worked 40+ a week). They said they would see what they could do. They offered me 30 hours and having had a really bad few days decided that I wasn't gonna be able to handle that. I went to see my doctor the next day and he signed me off for a further 4 weeks with viral fatigue.

Then the letter began - I received a letter from my employer that they needed to see my medical records or talk to my doctor and they implied that because my sick note stated viral fatigue that I was cured. I sent a letter back saying that I had a long term illness and was being treated for it, I then received a second letter with a order to have access to medical records, being in a state and having to deal with everything and also the thought of maybe losing my job I stupidly signed it.

Still suffering from  extreme fatigue I got a further sick note for another month, My doctor phoned me last week saying that he has received the request. He told me that he would have to disclose my status because of the nature of the letter, I said that was fine as long as it was kept in strict confidence, he assured me it would.

My sick not runs out tomorrow and I still have not heard from my employer, I don't know what step to take next, any help????



















 
05/10/2009 ~ DIAGNOSED, CD4 = 8
22/10/2009 ~ CD4 = 11/VL = 430,000, STARTED ATRIPLA and SEPTRIN
26/11/2009 ~ CD4 = 121/VL = 840
22/12/2009 ~ CD4 = 184 (6%)/VL = 340
11/03/2010 ~ CD4 = 177 (12%)/VL = 72
01/07/2010 ~ CD4 = 247 (12%) VL = 76
20/01/2011 ~ CD4 = 350 / VL = 29

Offline leese43

  • Member
  • Posts: 257
Re: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2009, 05:29:27 PM »
Your next steps would be the same as for any illness. Are you able to start back tomorrow? If not then you will need to go back to the doctor for another certificate. You were covered by the DDA (disability discrimination act) from the moment you were diagnosed. Being covered by the DDA doesn't mean that we can "milk it" though, but if you are off for a short time while getting yourself fitter and adapting to meds etc then you should be ok.
Oct 04 - Neg
Aug 05 - infected
Oct 05 - cd4 780, vl 60k
Apr 08 - cd4 430, vl 243
Jul 08 - cd4 550, vl 896
Nov 08 - cd4 730, vl 1.8k
May 09 - cd4 590, vl 1.5k
Sep 09 - cd4 460 vl 34k
Dec 09 - cd4 470 vl 42k
April 10 - cd4 430 vl 88.5k
July 10 - cd4 330 vl 118k
Aug 10 - started reyataz/truvada/norvir
Aug 10 - cd4 380 vl 4k (12 days after starting meds :))
Sep 10 - cd4 520 vl 1.5k
Oct 10 - cd4 590 vl 44
Jan 11 -cd4 610 vl <40 cd4% 50
May 11 - cd4 780 vl UD

Offline megasept

  • Member
  • Posts: 478
  • Steven here...
Re: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2009, 08:54:04 PM »
Hello! First off, since I take it you work in the UK, I might say something inaccurate.

In the US some POZ disclose at work, but mostly to get social support. I sure as hell wouldn't (That's just me) and never did at a number of places of employment. US law offers vague general protections under ADA (DDA for you, right?). Just saying or citing the ADA/DDA is usually enough to show you know your rights. It is also true, that people can be fired for being "too sick", off too much, or is that just here? It's both brutal and understandable. I don't have any idea about UK law but would expect a better level of official support or advocacy on your behalf.

A common way of dealing with missed work, illness at work, change in workload or assignment is for the MD to write a note to your employer that firmly says you have a "chronic condition for which you are receiving treatment." You may have put your MD in a position where he feels he has to disclose HIV, but I really don't see how your Employer needs the actual diagnosis. I don't think your MD has any obligation and probably has no right to disclose without your consent. HIPPA non-disclosure applies in the US.

Beyond legality, I do think it's important that managers know you aren't a shirker, just a sick person trying to balance illness and work obligations. Younger managers tend to understand these situations less than older people (who often have gone thru experiences with older Parents). It is hard to worry about employment issues while battling illness, that's for sure!

Good Health!
-Steven

« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 08:55:53 PM by megasept »

Offline leese43

  • Member
  • Posts: 257
Re: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2009, 09:12:06 PM »
A common way of dealing with missed work, illness at work, change in workload or assignment is for the MD to write a note to your employer that firmly says you have a "chronic condition for which you are receiving treatment." You may have put your MD in a position where he feels he has to disclose HIV, but I really don't see how your Employer needs the actual diagnosis. I don't think your MD has any obligation and probably has no right to disclose without your consent. HIPPA non-disclosure applies in the US.
[/quote]

He gave his consent when he signed the document.

What you could have done is refuse sign but ask to see Occupational Health, that way you could have disclosed to them confidentially and they would have most likely written a report to confirm that you have a chronic illness.

In the end if the company wants to get rid of you for sickness there going to try regardless, but you have more to fight with if they are aware of your status. From what I understand, and I may be wrong, we have more protection under the DDA in the UK.

On a positive note, disclosing my status helped me stay in employment. I was due to be made redundant last April and when i went to see the HR director regarding my pension I explained my situation, for no other reason but to find out if I could "get at" my pension  and she immediately found me another position..so there are some good guys out there and it's not all doom and gloom.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2009, 09:15:33 PM by leese43 »
Oct 04 - Neg
Aug 05 - infected
Oct 05 - cd4 780, vl 60k
Apr 08 - cd4 430, vl 243
Jul 08 - cd4 550, vl 896
Nov 08 - cd4 730, vl 1.8k
May 09 - cd4 590, vl 1.5k
Sep 09 - cd4 460 vl 34k
Dec 09 - cd4 470 vl 42k
April 10 - cd4 430 vl 88.5k
July 10 - cd4 330 vl 118k
Aug 10 - started reyataz/truvada/norvir
Aug 10 - cd4 380 vl 4k (12 days after starting meds :))
Sep 10 - cd4 520 vl 1.5k
Oct 10 - cd4 590 vl 44
Jan 11 -cd4 610 vl <40 cd4% 50
May 11 - cd4 780 vl UD

Offline UK_SL

  • Member
  • Posts: 51
Re: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2009, 04:17:08 AM »
My biggest concern is disclosing my status to my employer as I have been assured by all parties that any information about my current state of health will be handled in strict confidence. My main concern is how I am gonna be treated once they know. What steps I can take if they try to get rid of me or treat me differently? Since being diagnosed I have read some real horror stories from people who have disclosed their status, graffiti, verbal abuse etc.... As only myself, my girlfriend and my doctor are the only people who know my status, I would instantly know how it got out. I like my job and where I live, I don't want or need the stress of moving and finding a new job in this climate where there are no jobs!
05/10/2009 ~ DIAGNOSED, CD4 = 8
22/10/2009 ~ CD4 = 11/VL = 430,000, STARTED ATRIPLA and SEPTRIN
26/11/2009 ~ CD4 = 121/VL = 840
22/12/2009 ~ CD4 = 184 (6%)/VL = 340
11/03/2010 ~ CD4 = 177 (12%)/VL = 72
01/07/2010 ~ CD4 = 247 (12%) VL = 76
20/01/2011 ~ CD4 = 350 / VL = 29

Offline leese43

  • Member
  • Posts: 257
Re: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2009, 06:06:43 AM »
I completely understand that, I feel much the same as you and it was a huge step for me to disclose. Sorry if I came across matter of fact, it wasn't meant to sound that way. I think you need to bite the bullet though and contact your employers, if they have received the medical report they may not be sure how to handle the whole topic and that's why you've not heard from them, also you can reiterate how important it is that this remains confidential. If you work for a reputable company they would know the consequences of their actions if they were to let it leak out. Give THT a call, they will have more details on the legal side.
Oct 04 - Neg
Aug 05 - infected
Oct 05 - cd4 780, vl 60k
Apr 08 - cd4 430, vl 243
Jul 08 - cd4 550, vl 896
Nov 08 - cd4 730, vl 1.8k
May 09 - cd4 590, vl 1.5k
Sep 09 - cd4 460 vl 34k
Dec 09 - cd4 470 vl 42k
April 10 - cd4 430 vl 88.5k
July 10 - cd4 330 vl 118k
Aug 10 - started reyataz/truvada/norvir
Aug 10 - cd4 380 vl 4k (12 days after starting meds :))
Sep 10 - cd4 520 vl 1.5k
Oct 10 - cd4 590 vl 44
Jan 11 -cd4 610 vl <40 cd4% 50
May 11 - cd4 780 vl UD

Offline Ann

  • Administrator
  • Member
  • Posts: 28,140
  • It just is, OK?
    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2009, 08:18:25 AM »
SL,

There is plenty of information concerning the DDA available online:

http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/index.htm

Good luck, I hope things work out for you.

Ann
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

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Offline Inchlingblue

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  • Posts: 3,119
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Re: DISCLOSING MY HIV STATUS TO MY EMPLOYER.
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2009, 10:20:56 AM »
From the point of view of the employer I think their concern in a situation such as this has to do with the fact that they don't know if these medical breaks will become the norm or if it's just something temporary while the person recovers.

Because you started meds with low CD4 levels and a high viral load it is taking you a little longer to recover but chances are you should be able to recover well enough to go back to work the way you were before. As much of a hassle as some jobs might be, I think it's so important to have a place to go to every day and to continue one's life as normally as possible after HIV. Of course, not everyone is able to do this but the majority of people with HIV these days who have access to HAART are.

It seems there was no need to actually spell out what your condition is but as long as there are legal protections in place to ensure you don't get fired ("sacked" in the UK?) unnecessarily I guess it's fine.
« Last Edit: December 29, 2009, 11:31:14 AM by Inchlingblue »

 


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