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Author Topic: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool  (Read 1947 times)

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Offline bismarck06

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  • Posts: 6
Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« on: January 07, 2010, 05:47:21 PM »
Has anyone intentionally sought employment in the AIDS services industry after an HIV+ diagnosis?  Do you believe that job helped you to cope with your diagnosis?  Why or Why not?

I was diagnosed as HIV+ in May of 2008.  15 months later I got a job working at a community center helping people who are HIV+.  I assist with medical adherence, HIV education and peer support for the newly diagnosed.

This job has been a source of support for me in helping to cope with being HIV positive.  At work, there is a wealth of information about HIV/AIDS.  I learn something new about HIV everyday and then I share that info with my clients.  It is very rewarding to track a clients' progress from from a place of dispair and worry to a place of hope and optimism.  Also, due to the nature of the work, both my coworkers and my clients know that I am HIV+ so there is no job-related stigma about disclosing my status...a major psychological benefit for me.  I am currently in grad school for counseling, so working in this field is giving me valuable experience that will help me in my counseling career. 

I contribute my excellent physical, mental and spiritual health in part to working in the AIDS services industry.

Offline next2u

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  • Posts: 1,762
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #1 on: January 07, 2010, 05:58:06 PM »
if only we could all be so lucky. trust...my current schooling will allow me to pursue a job in a field that relates to hivers and has comparable pay.

congrats and happy new year pal!
midapr07 - seroconversion
sept07 - tested poz
oct07 cd4 1013; vl 13,900; cd4% 41
feb08 cd4  694;  vl 16,160; cd4% 50.1
may08 cd4 546; vl 91,480; cd4% 32
aug08 cd4 576; vl 48,190; cd4% 40.7
dec08 cd4 559; vl 63,020; cd4% 29.4
feb09 cd4 464; vl 11,000; cd4% 26
may09 cd4 544; vl 29,710; cd4% 27.2
oct09 cd4 ...; vl 23,350; cd4% 31.6
mar10 cd4 408; vl 59,050; cd4% 31.4
aug10 cd4 328; vl 80,000; cd4% 19.3 STARTED ATRIPLA
oct10 cd4 423; vl 410 ;); cd4% 30.2
jun11 cd4 439; vl <20 ;); cd4% 33.8 <-Undetectable!
mar12 cd4 695; vl ud; cd4% 38.6
jan13 cd4 738; vl ud; cd4% 36.8
aug13 cd4 930; vl ud; cd4% 44.3
jan14 cd4 813; vl ud; cd4% 42.8
may14 cd4 783; vl *; cd4%43.5

Offline Inchlingblue

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  • Posts: 3,119
  • Chad Ochocinco PETA Ad
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #2 on: January 07, 2010, 06:18:08 PM »
That sounds great. I would definitely be open to that kind of employment.

I'm curious, does working in something HIV-related such as where you work come with health benefits? It would be ironic if it didn't.

Offline next2u

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,762
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #3 on: January 07, 2010, 07:21:10 PM »
very good point ichy blue spot...my ichy spots are usually red..lol
midapr07 - seroconversion
sept07 - tested poz
oct07 cd4 1013; vl 13,900; cd4% 41
feb08 cd4  694;  vl 16,160; cd4% 50.1
may08 cd4 546; vl 91,480; cd4% 32
aug08 cd4 576; vl 48,190; cd4% 40.7
dec08 cd4 559; vl 63,020; cd4% 29.4
feb09 cd4 464; vl 11,000; cd4% 26
may09 cd4 544; vl 29,710; cd4% 27.2
oct09 cd4 ...; vl 23,350; cd4% 31.6
mar10 cd4 408; vl 59,050; cd4% 31.4
aug10 cd4 328; vl 80,000; cd4% 19.3 STARTED ATRIPLA
oct10 cd4 423; vl 410 ;); cd4% 30.2
jun11 cd4 439; vl <20 ;); cd4% 33.8 <-Undetectable!
mar12 cd4 695; vl ud; cd4% 38.6
jan13 cd4 738; vl ud; cd4% 36.8
aug13 cd4 930; vl ud; cd4% 44.3
jan14 cd4 813; vl ud; cd4% 42.8
may14 cd4 783; vl *; cd4%43.5

Offline Inchlingblue

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  • Posts: 3,119
  • Chad Ochocinco PETA Ad
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2010, 12:33:15 AM »
very good point ichy blue spot...my ichy spots are usually red..lol

Not "ichy," silly, Inchling . . . it's from a poem. ;)

Online mecch

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  • Posts: 11,699
  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2010, 04:45:31 AM »
Well, if that works for you, than bravo.
Personally this forum and HAART is why I chilled out.
I want HIV to take up less and less brain time as the years continue.
Just want to live my life and do my job regardless of whatever health challenge I might have.   
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline clogger

  • Member
  • Posts: 11
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2010, 03:35:55 PM »
Hi before my diagnosis 10 ears ago I worked in Africa in the hivsector which involved education and hiv trials. I am a qualified sister and counsellor(a course I did after my diagnosis). Shortly after my own diagnosis I worked in a hiv ward in London and found I could not cope with what I was ex perincing even though I had seen and been through more in Africa.It was different being on the other side  and I was now not just the professional person who had treated and dealt with this disease but I had to deal with this myself now.

I think what you are doing is wonderful and so rewarding and I can honestly say that working in Africa was the best work I have ever done and ex perinced it made me appreciate everything we take so much for granted.   It has taken me a very long time to write on this wonderful forum even though I having been visiting it for a very long time so I suppose it is one step at a time for me. Who knows maybe one day I will return to Africa and continue what I love doing?

Good luck with the counselling it is an invaluable course.

Offline bismarck06

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2010, 10:09:16 AM »
That sounds great. I would definitely be open to that kind of employment.

I'm curious, does working in something HIV-related such as where you work come with health benefits? It would be ironic if it didn't.

If you are full-time at my company, then you are eligible for medical and dental benefits.  I'm part-time while in school, so I have no benefits through my employer.  I'm using Cobra and Ryan White funds to help pay for my meds and doctors visits.  When I graduate from school, I will work full-time again and be eligible for benefits via my employer.

Offline bismarck06

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  • Posts: 6
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2010, 10:12:15 AM »
Thanks Everyone for your well-wishes and encouragement!  Clogger, I hope you get to work again in Africa since it had such a profound effect on your life.

Offline wow1969

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  • Posts: 208
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2010, 01:13:42 PM »
yes ... but jobs are limited so i do volunteer work ... i'm planning to go back to school and do grad work in bio-chemistry to study HIV ... I figure why not be part of the solution .. I can't think of anything more productive and life-affirming than helping find the cure ...

or course, I could just become an internet security guy and fight different types of virus' LOL ...

Seriously, I've always wanted to make a difference in my life and the lives of others ... this just seems like the best way ... it's too easy to fall into dispair .. i figure it will be harder if I'm directly engaged in finding a cure ... plus, i have a never ending supply of blood to use for research ...

Offline Dale Parker

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  • Posts: 266
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2010, 01:48:02 AM »
At the moment I am volunteering with PWA which is the HIV/Aids group in Toronto. I love it. I started out doing the laundry for the acupuncture and massage clinics that they run. In the beginning it wiped my out physically as I would wash, dry and fold between 40 and 60 sets of sheets and pillowcases two days a week. Boring and lonely as the laundry was on the main floor and most of the people were on the 2nd floor. It made me feel so good that I was giving back to the community that had helped me so much. One day I was talking to one of the guys who works in the PWA food bank and he said that they were looking for volunteers. I've been working in the food bank for 6 weeks now (as well as doing the laundry) and am having a blast. All the people at PWA are fun to work with but the people in the food bank really know how to have a great time while they work.
     Although not all of the employees or volunteers are gay or HIV positive it feels so good not to have to hide either fact from fellow workers. In previous jobs I did hide the gay factor and would have never been able to disclose my HIV status. For me that made a huge difference in the way I feel about myself and my attitude at work.
  Since that is going so well for me I am thinking of doing another volunteer thing for them. I'm 80% sure that I'm going to do the "Friends for Life" bike ride to raise money for them this summer. It's a 660KM (410 mile) ride from Toronto to Montreal. I love to ride my bike but the guy that I do my long distance rides with hurt his knee and won't be riding much this summer. So far I have my doctors support as well as family and friends. As important as it is to raise money for them it's just as important for me as I need to give back to the comunity and even more importantly I need to do it for me to prove I'm as able with Aids as I was before my diagnosis.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2010, 01:50:37 AM by Dale Parker »
Apr 09  CD4 21, CD4/CD8 ratio 0 VL 500,000+
July 09 CD4 158, CD4/CD812% VL 750
Oct 09 CD4 157 CD4/CD8 14% VL UD
Feb 10 CD4 197, CD4/CD8 11% VL UD
May 10  CD4 252 CD4/CD8 12% VL UD
Aug 10 CD4 211 VL UD
Nov 10 CD4 272 CD4/CD8 0.138 VL UD

Offline phildinftlaudy

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  • Posts: 2,965
  • sweet Ann what you think babe...
Re: Working in an HIV/AIDS related occupation as a coping tool
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2010, 04:09:02 AM »
With a bachelors degree in social work i have worked in a variety of field -- since being diagnosed I definitely want to work in the area of HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment.---- One thing I have learned though in my 18 years in this field is that what ever I am going thru to do my best to keep the personal parts of it outside of work ---- let me see if I can explain what I mean.....  I used to do community groups on alcohol, drugs and healthy living (i.e. relationships, communicating effectively, values, stress management, etc.) --- what I found was that in the course of doing one of my presentations I realized from the material that I was very codependent -- I made the course more about me and focused more on me getting better then I did on the people I was presenting it to ---- which, while the course was effective, was probably somewhat of a disservice to them.  I have since learned that people tend to teach what they themselves need to learn -- but to keep it focused on the teaching/advocating/educating of others and keep that very fine line in place so that I don't walk away with more then the people I am serving.  I definitely think that if u can take a negative and make it into a positive in your life and have passion about what u do then go for it --- I will be doing the same.... Just making sure that I don't take care of myself and forget that on the job I am to be there for the other person.....  :-)

September 13, 2008 - diagnosed +
Labs:
Date    CD4    %   VL     Date  CD4  %   VL
10/08  636    35  510   9/09 473  38 2900  12/4/09 Atripla
12/09  540    30    60   
12/10  740    41  <48   
8/11    667    36  <20  
03/12  1,041  42  <20
05/12  1,241  47  <20
08/12   780    37  <20
11/12   549    35  <20
02/12  1,102  42  <20
11/12   549    35  <20

 


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