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Author Topic: Disclosure and work  (Read 1862 times)

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Offline Regretsafew

  • Member
  • Posts: 100
Disclosure and work
« on: December 12, 2010, 06:40:50 PM »
Hi...  I haven't posted on here in awhile but have been here reading off and on...  Wishing everyone a happy holidays! 

Just wondered if its best to let your employer know about status,  Been Poz for 4 years on Atripla.... I work in the medical field and we have a Psychology dept that we have access too.  My boss told me recently that I am "moody and temperamental"    No one knows about my status and I feel so alone.  I'm having a hard time dealing with stress and think its from my meds I was going to go and see our Psych people at work for employee health.    Last  CD4 907  and UD VL

What do you think I should do?? 


Thank you so much for your input.

Offline phildinftlaudy

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  • sweet Ann what you think babe...
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #1 on: December 12, 2010, 06:52:23 PM »
Hi Regrets:

First, have you talked to your doc about potential adverse mood effects the Atripla may be causing?  I am on Atripla also and have not had any problems - but I have heard some people say that they had changes in mood and had to switch treatments.

In regards to disclosing to your employer - you will probably get a host of differing opinions on this (so get ready for them - lol).  Myself, personally, I disclosed to my employer as it is an ADA covered disability and I work for a large college who has established policies of non-discriminination of persons with HIV/AIDS.  I also have  found that it helps because my employer is more empathetic about me having to take time away every three months for my labs and then two weeks after every three months for my follow up.  She also understands why when I get sick, etc. I may need an extra day or two to make sure that I am fully recovered.

Some will say not to disclose - particularly if your employer may be the type who would discriminate (even if it is illegal to do so).  Working in the medical field, I would think that your employer would be understanding.  The other thing is if you do use the EAP at work - they cannot disclose to your employer your health condition.  At any rate, you have to weigh out the pros and cons of disclosure to see what is in your best interest. 
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

Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2010, 07:06:38 PM »
Before you disclose at work, report what your boss said to you to your doctor. Has anyone else noticed that you are moody and tempermental?  Have you noticed personality changes in last years since on Atripla?  Get your doctor in on finding a solution. It might involve a visit to to a shrink and it might involve changing your HAART and it might involve letting someone know at work, but not necessarily your boss.  If anyone at work is not going to be part of the solution, then why should they know?
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline wolfter

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Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2010, 07:20:50 PM »
I wouldn't disclose until after you speak with a mental health professional.  Since you are going to discuss issues anyways, he/she can help you work through the thought process of the pros and cons.  I started meds in 2001 and had great insurance through Nationally known telecommunications company.  Within a few months, I was terminated for performance issues even though I continuously rec'd awards and such.  I've always felt there was disclosure somewhere within our insurance department and HR department that led to this action.  So, you need to really think this through.
Complacency is the enemy.  ;)  Challenge yourself daily for maximum  return on investment.

Offline Regretsafew

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  • Posts: 100
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2010, 07:42:16 PM »
Thanks so much for your replies... I 've never been evaluated for mental health issues  but I think its time I went that route....   There are other issues going on at work as well  but I think my diagnosis is the biggest problem.... 

I think myself....  that I probably am a bit moody and have depression and anxiety.  I also have been snappy with people and thats not good and not how I want to be.  Also,  I really have no support and not many people to talk to. 

I will put in a phone call to my doc / social worker tomorrow as well .  He thought I was depressed awhile back but  I thought I could handle it  lol 

Offline woodshere

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  • ain't no shame in my game
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #5 on: December 12, 2010, 08:39:47 PM »
Shortly after being diagnosed there was a situation at work (social service agency) that required me to seek legal advice.  The Legal Aid specializing in HIV advised me never to disclose to my employer.  As phildinftlaudy said we are protected under ADA, however an employer can find reasons to fire you that would make it difficult to prove discrimination.  Just my 2 cents worth
"Let us give pubicity to HV/AIDS and not hide it..." "One of the things destroying people with AIDS is the stigma we attach to it."   Nelson Mandela

Offline odyssey

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  • One Crazy Mofo!
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #6 on: December 12, 2010, 09:01:12 PM »
I have to agree with woodshere. Although in the US HIV/AIDS is a legally protected disability status, and you can't be fired for having it, there is still a pretty big stigma surrounding it, and I would especially expect this with people working in the medical field. You'd be surprised to read studies about the kinds of bias doctors and nurses have about people with HIV. And yes, they'll find other "reasons" to fire you that will leave you pretty much unable to prove that you were discriminated against but knowing you were. So if I were you, I'd keep my mouth shut!

odyssey
01/09/09- diagnosed HIV+
01/16/09   CD4-425    22%  VL- 32,415
11/09- started Reyetaz/Norvir/Truvada
03/10- stopped R/N/T
10/18/11   CD4- 328   20%  VL- 84,000
10/25/11   CD4- 386   22%
10/28/11- start Truvada/Reyetaz/Norvir
12/30/11  CD4- 523  29%
03/08/12  CD4- 503  31%  VL 57
07/02/12  CD4- 897  43%
08/31/12  CD4- 745  39%
12/27/12  CD4- 884  40%
03/28/13  CD4- 819  39%
07/19/13  CD4- 739  40%
10/17/13  CD4- 535  36%
01/16/14  CD4- 743  43%

02/14- switched from R/N/T to Tivicay/Epzicom because of CKD 3 suspected from tenofovir.

03/14- switched back to R/N/T due to severe nausea and inability to eat on T/E.
 
04/01/14 CD4- 898  42%   VL-

Offline PozBrian

  • Member
  • Posts: 200
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2010, 09:06:12 PM »
I did disclose at work. I felt i needed to but there are unique circumstances that might not apply to you.  First when ever I travel internationally I must file form with my employer.  This is due to a couple things. First export compliance and second because of security clearances. Part of the form is a health questionnaire and while it doesn't ask specifically about HIV, one question requires a yes answer being HIV+.  That particular answer doesn't require any further explanation about what the issue might be.

I have received a call from a nurse employed by my company inquiring why I answered yes to that question.  Before disclosing, I asked about HIPA. She told me that since it this wasn't about medical records HIPA didn't apply but that she was bound by the same confidentiality rules as any other medical professional. So I told her.  There has been no "blow back."

I also asked one time if being HIV + would present any problems for me traveling and she said it wouldn't and that there were a number people that she tracked who were HIV+.

So the company knows but none of my managers know.  As long as I stay healthy that is how I intend it to stay.
3/8 CD4: 495, 31%, VL UD
2/1 CD4: 564, 20%.VL UD, switching to Issentress & truvada
10/11 CD4: 446, 29%, VL UD
7/11 CD4: 873, 35%, VL UD
4/11 CD4: 573, 34% VL 0
12/10 CD4: 405, 30% VL UD
9/10 CD4: 416, 31% VL UD
5/10 CD4: 393, 29% VL: UD
02/10 CD4: 423, 37% VL: UD
11/09 CD4: 379, 25% VL: UNDETECTABLE!!
10/09 CD4: 245, 25% VL: 87
9/09 CD4: 246, 24% VL: 49!
8/09 CD4: 277, 26% VL: 115
7/09 CD4: 346, 24% VL: 221
6/09 started Atripla
5/09 CD4: 326, 16%  VL:125000
4/09 HIV +, CD4: 397, 16%  VL:195000, PPD reactive

Offline anniebc

  • Member
  • Posts: 5,939
  • AM member since 2003
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2010, 09:57:22 PM »
There are some good reasons for informing your employers that you are HIV+ because you may need to take some time of work due to ill health or clinical appointments, and those of us who are HIV+ are protected under the Disability Discriminaton Act, all that basically means is that it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because you are HIV+....however, this doesn't mean your employer will not treat you differently once you tell them, protection in law does not guarantee that you will be treated fairly, it just means that you have legal redress if discrimination occurs.

If you do decide to tell yor employer that you are HIV+ then put it in writing that you want to keep it confidential, in the same way that all other personal data held abaout you must be kept confidential, and that you would like a written acknowledgment of your letter, and don't forget to keepf a copy of your employers reply and a copy of your original letter.

In most jobs you don't need to disclose your HIV status unles it begins to affect your work, your work colleagues are not bound by the same rules of confidentiality as your employer so there are fewer reasons to disclose to them, it's none of their buisness relly, if you do and they choose to disclose to others there is very little your employer can do to prevent this, only if you are being discriminated against by your work mates can your employer step in to help, but of course you have to prove it first.

As always it's a decision that only you can make, and you need to think about seriously ,because once you have disclosed you can't take it back.

Aroha
Jan
-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Never knock on deaths door..ring the bell and run..he really hates that.

Offline Oceanbeach

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,565
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2010, 12:00:08 AM »
With your numbers, I wouldn't disclose at any time.  I have been on meds since 1996 but tested positive in 1994.  I worked for a small mom and pop practice which designed and sold custom safety programs to companies with workers' comp issues, we were nationwide.  The woman CEO was my best gal pal and everyone knew.  Employees were always getting involved in AIDS Walk, I was promoted to V.P. and I had the world by the short curlies.

When I was hospitalized w/PCP, declared disabled, it was obvious the nations front runner in workers' comp reform could not take a chance of top management personnel going out on a workers' comp claim.  I became unemployable and without health care that day.

In addition to the experts others are offering, I would like to suggest a consultation with an attorney and weigh out all of your options.   ;D  Have the best day
Michael

Offline tednlou2

  • Member
  • Posts: 4,831
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #10 on: December 13, 2010, 12:39:25 AM »
I often think it is better to not disclose to employers.  I had a friend who got the flu or some kind of illness.  He is gay and HIV negative as far as I knew.  His co-workers and boss suspected he was gay.  He said many co-workers started going over a long list of illnesses/virus it could be.  One person asked, "Have you ever been tested for HIV?" 

Well, about a week after that, he was let go.  They claimed he took off too much work.  The problem with that was he had about a month of vacation/sick days and could use them as he pleased.  You could use them all up at once, and there wasn't suppose to be a problem.  And, he had only taken 4 sick days with no history of taking many sick days before.  He thought his boss's fear of him possibly having HIV is what led to his dismissal.  Just the fear of it and not confirmation of it.  Like I said, he is HIV negative, or was at that time.  If his suspicions were true, that showed his boss automatically thought anyone gay with some illness must have HIV.  And, they were either afraid of being around someone with HIV, or were afraid if he did have HIV it would cause him to miss a lot of work, and it would be hard to fire him at that point. 

But that is one story and many people are more educated these days.  This happened back around 2000.  I would think even those more educated folks that wouldn't fear being around someone with HIV, may still think you would miss a lot of work and it would be hard for them to fire you at that point-- so they would feel it is better to get rid of the "problem" right away.  I guess it all depends on how well you know your bosses and their attitudes about illnesses--has anyone with cancer been fired for fear they would miss a lot of work where you work?  Are they quick to fire anyone who gets ill with something even if they haven't missed much work? 


Offline wtfimpoz

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  • Posts: 418
  • Let's make biscuits!
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #11 on: December 13, 2010, 12:48:45 AM »
Hi...  I haven't posted on here in awhile but have been here reading off and on...  Wishing everyone a happy holidays! 

Just wondered if its best to let your employer know about status,  Been Poz for 4 years on Atripla.... I work in the medical field and we have a Psychology dept that we have access too.  My boss told me recently that I am "moody and temperamental"    No one knows about my status and I feel so alone.  I'm having a hard time dealing with stress and think its from my meds I was going to go and see our Psych people at work for employee health.    Last  CD4 907  and UD VL

What do you think I should do?? 


Thank you so much for your input.

Do you think the "moodiness" is a result of Atripla?  And does it compromise your ability to do your job? 
09/01/2009-neg
mid april, 2010, "flu like illness".
06/01/2010-weakly reactive ELISA, indeterminant WB
06/06/2010-reactive ELISA, confirmed positive.

DATE       CD4     %     VL
07/15/10  423     33    88k
08/28/10  489     19    189k
09/06/10-Started ATRIPLA
09/15/10  420     38    1400
11/21/10  517     25    51

Offline PozJeepGuy

  • Member
  • Posts: 249
  • Facebook - Jacob Perry
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #12 on: December 13, 2010, 01:30:35 AM »
When I found out I was positive a few monthes ago I decided right away lets just deal with it full steam ahead.  I am a chef and told my employer which is a national chain.  I couldn't been greeted with more welcoming arms.  They have been extremely supportive and caring.  I would think the thought of people finding out you secert has to be draining.  Why not find out now where you stand so you have the ability to find a place to go that fits your needs rather than stay and deal with negativity. 
Jacob Perry

I refuse to wear my HIV as a badge of shame any longer.

Offline jkinatl2

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  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #13 on: December 13, 2010, 01:53:54 AM »
"Moodiness" can indeed be an artifact of Atripla's DNS effects. And it can take weeks or months for it to begin.

Depending on the chemical imbalance, that moodiness can be hostility, paranoia, depression, out-of-the-blue rages and/or suicidal ideation, and the like. Taking meds to combat, say, ADD when one is in reality bipolar can easily cause rages, even homicidal ones. The impact on certain people's brains when combined with such a powerful drug cannot be underestimated.

I myelf am familiar with the sudden suicidal ideations portion. It was uncanny, and came from nowhere, and was very very real. I can easily see how someone without a thorough mental health workup/history would be totally blindsided by the thoughts and feelings that surged up, seemingly from nowhere, not very very grounded and real.

I am not a huge fan of disclosure at work, in this economy in particular. But if you are having issues, TALK about it to a professional. One who will listen, and help.

It sucks to need help and to need the strength and fortitude to GET that help at precisely the moment you feel helpless and in need. I know. But yo must find that strength and get that help. Because if you do not, then you risk losing that job, that security, that sanity, and that life.

Please do this for no one but yourself.

"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Regretsafew

  • Member
  • Posts: 100
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2010, 04:02:22 AM »
Oh wow

Thanks so much for your replies....

I think it may be a medication side effect now... I will put in a call to my doctor today to ask about the medication. 

The EAP at work is susposed to be confidential and they might call me down there anyways because of my "problems".  I really do need to talk to someone tho.  Sometimes I think I'm going crazy!!  Depression, Anxiety, paranoid, moody,  Thats gotta be Atripla  right??  or me  haha!

Offline Ann

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    • Num is sum qui mentiar tibi?
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2010, 04:31:49 AM »
It doesn't have to be one or the other. The side-effects of Sustiva (the problematic drug in Atripla) aren't usually black-and-white in that it can take an underlying, mild depression or anxiety disorder and make it worse. It can also cause depression etc independently, but more often it exacerbates a mild, underlying issue. So it may be that you need both therapy and a med change.

As for disclosing at work, personally I would never not disclose to my employer. I will not work for a company from which I had to hide my hiv status. I will not willing expose myself to stigma and prejudice nor will I hide from the same where it exists. If they cannot accept my hiv, I cannot accept them. Simple as. For me, anyway.
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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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 metekrop

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  • Posts: 354
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2010, 07:21:41 AM »
Hi there,

You need to disclose when you have to .  Else, you need to Keep silent.  Because you don't know how people might behave towards you.  In most of the cases they might not be good to you.  Therefore, you are good in handling your problem, keep on handling it good.  I don't think also that Atripla may cause the problem.  I am on Atripla too.  Now a days this med is like a diet pill for me.  So try to overcome your phsycological problems you have else don't tell to anyone unless you have to.

Thanks.
« Last Edit: December 13, 2010, 07:25:55 AM by metekrop »
Diag on Dec 8, 2000, CD 440 VL 44K, No Meds
Dec/08 - Feb/09 CD< 50 & VL >500k hosp'z.
St. Atripla - July/09 CD 179, VL 197k
Oct/09 CD 300 VL UD Chol 267
Mar/10 CD 468 UD, Ch 220
Aug/10 CD 460 UD, Ch 195
Dec/10 CD 492 UD, Ch 172
Mar/11 CD 636 UD, Ch 201
Aug/11 CD 530 UD, Ch 98
Jan/12 cd 616 UD, ch 189
Jul/12 CD 640 UD, Ch ?
Dec/12 CD 669 Ud, Ch 125
May/7 CD711 Ud, Ch?
Nov/ 22 663 UD, Ch,
April 17 CD 797, UD

Offline GSOgymrat

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Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2010, 08:47:52 AM »
When it comes to disclosing at work I think people need to really think about their motivation for disclosing. Will disclosing make being at work more or less stressful? Will disclosing protect or endanger your position? This takes an accurate assessment of your corporate culture and the individual coworkers you deal with daily. I have seen people with mental health problems deal with similar disclosure concerns. Legal protections will only take you so far, as I have know of some companies that rarely fired people but made their "problem" employee's jobs so unpleasant they quit. Each situation is different and I don't think there is blanket answer.

I work for a hospital system and honestly I'm not sure who knows I'm HIV+ and who doesn't. I disclosed to a supervisor once due to a specific health-related work incident but he relocated and I don't know who else he told. Some coworkers have found out when I've presented in the E.R. for medical treatment. Some have found out by Googling my name, which seems to be a favorite pastime of bored nursing techs. No one has ever directly asked me about it. It has never been an issue and given where I work I don't think it ever will be.

Offline Assurbanipal

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Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2010, 08:48:50 PM »
Thanks so much for your replies... I 've never been evaluated for mental health issues  but I think its time I went that route....   There are other issues going on at work as well  but I think my diagnosis is the biggest problem.... 

I think myself....  that I probably am a bit moody and have depression and anxiety.  I also have been snappy with people and thats not good and not how I want to be.  Also,  I really have no support and not many people to talk to. 

I will put in a phone call to my doc / social worker tomorrow as well .  He thought I was depressed awhile back but  I thought I could handle it  lol 

Phil gave you really good advice.  Disclosing to the EAP is not the same as disclosing to your boss.  The EAP may well be a separate organization that provides EAP services to your employer.  And they probably are legally prohibited from talking over the details with your boss under HIPAA.

But if you have any concerns call up the EAP and ask them what their policies are for sharing info.  Asking about the policies won't mark you as having HIV; just about everyone who talks to the EAP has issues with privacy.

A
5/06 VL 1M+, CD4 22, 5% , pneumonia, thrush -- O2 support 2 months, 6/06 +Kaletra/Truvada
9/06 VL 3959 CD4 297 13.5% 12/06 VL <400 CD4 350 15.2% +Pravachol
2007 VL<400, 70, 50 CD4 408-729 16.0% -19.7%
2008 VL UD CD4 468 - 538 16.7% - 24.6% Osteoporosis 11/08 doubled Pravachol, +Calcium/D
02/09 VL 100 CD4 616 23.7% 03/09 VL 130 5/09 VL 100 CD4 540 28.4% +Actonel (osteoporosis) 7/09 VL 130
8/09  new regimen Isentress/Epzicom 9/09 VL UD CD4 621 32.7% 11/09 VL UD CD4 607 26.4% swap Isentress for Prezista/Norvir 12/09 (liver and muscle issues) VL 50
2010 VL UD CD4 573-680 26.1% - 30.9% 12/10 VL 20
2011 VL UD-20 CD4 568-673 24.7%-30.6%
2012 VL UD swap Prezista/Norvir for Reyataz drop statin CD4 768-828 26.7%-30.7%

Offline Regretsafew

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  • Posts: 100
Re: Disclosure and work
« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2010, 09:11:56 PM »
Tons of great points guys!  Thank you so much!

Here it turns out.... I was freaking out about something that really did not involve me   but my paranoid self assumed it was...  So,  I have decided to seek some mental health visits not from the EAP  but from my ID doc's referral. 

Its been a rough road for me mentally with this and I just try to keep as busy as possible to "forget" about it... but sometimes it gets overwhelming. 


Hugs! 


 


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