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Author Topic: A Disclosure Pickle  (Read 872 times)

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Offline oksikoko

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  • Posts: 672
  • Writing the congressman again
    • the treatment cascade
A Disclosure Pickle
« on: July 16, 2013, 10:06:18 AM »
Long story short.

I'm interviewing for a job at this place. Let's call it a service agency that deals with homelessness and HIV issues. The actual job is in my field and is very similar to my last job, in fact. My application has nothing to do with my past or status. As far as I know, they don't know I was homeless or am positive. I have a second interview at which there will be a client representative. I may be wrong, but I believe this is because they would want to be sure anyone hired would be sensitive to the needs of this particular community.

I don't think it's appropriate or prudent to bring up things like personal HIV status and bouts of homelessness in a job interview, but every time I've worked for a nonprofit, they've wanted to know why I feel connected to the particular cause (enough to have no problem with the pay, haha!). I have a feeling it may naturally come up unless I actively hide it. I feel weird about mentioning it in this context, but I also don't want it to be some sort of secret that I've kept.

So, basically, my question, if you have any advice, is this: should I go in with a hard and fast rule that I will not mention my own business in these areas or should I be willing to mention it if it comes up naturally in the conversation?  I've never had to deal with this sort of thing, and both seem like the wrong answer. I definitely don't want to just 'wing it' and hope for the best. ;)

Thanks.
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

Offline jkinatl2

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  • Doo. Dah. Dipp-ity.
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2013, 10:16:56 AM »
You bring some very important, valid and in my opinion valuable insights into the position. Of course I would try to assess the situation in the interview, but it would surprise me if these people would discriminate based solely on your past - which has a direct bearing on the position for which you are applying.

I served on a board of HIV mentors for a while last year, and it included people in recovery, people who had endured the same situations for which they were counseling, and they seemed to be looked upon with great respect and reverence for giving back. I can't imagine anyone would feel differently about your perspective.



"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 Jmarksto

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  • Posts: 396
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2013, 12:00:06 PM »
Oks;  Congrats on the opportunity and getting the second interview.

should I go in with a hard and fast rule that I will not mention my own business in these areas or should I be willing to mention it if it comes up naturally in the conversation?

I don't like hard and fast rules, I tend to use "guidelines" and here are some random thoughts (in no particular order) on your question. 

My first guideline is to be genuine -- there are ways to answer questions and show your knowledge of the issues and situations that convey significant understanding without revealing personal information.  It may be appropriate to simply state that you have "some personal experience" with the issue, without coming out and saying that you have been homeless or are positive.

In this position, I would thing that being able to demonstrate that you can maintain proper boundaries would also be appropriate - while your personal experience is relevant, it may not be appropriate to discuss your personal experience/situation.  If you do disclose, it may be worth noting that you recognize there is a boundary there that has to be managed.

It may be worth asking them a few questions to assess whether they are looking for, or would value, an employee that has personal experience with their services.  Get them to tell you if it would be beneficial to disclose.

Disclosure in my mind is a two way street - it is best if both parties disclose, if they disclose their status it is probably ok to disclose yours, if they don't it probably isn't (unless they have indicated they prefer)
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD

Offline mitch777

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Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2013, 12:06:05 PM »
No advice on the interview from me but wanted to wish you the best. :)
31 years hiv+ (oct. 2013) with a curtsy.

Offline darryaz

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Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2013, 12:32:47 PM »
I think the best thing in this situation will be to not go in with "hard and fast" rules.  Once you get a feel for the organization and the interviewer you'll have some idea of what is or is not prudent to share.

You could always be vague and tell the interviewer that you have a "personal connection" with the non-profit's service areas without giving specific details.
« Last Edit: July 16, 2013, 12:35:11 PM by darryaz »

Offline bmancanfly

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  • Medicare For All !
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2013, 01:41:09 PM »
You've already received some excellent advice so I'll just say good luck,  hope you get it if it's what you want.
"The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt."

 Bertrand Russell

Offline SANJUANDUDE

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Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2013, 02:13:49 PM »
good luck
10/2011-CD-4-598-Undetectable
01/2012-CD-4-758-Undetectable
04/2012-CD$-780-70 Viral Load
08-2012-CD4-846--20 viral load
02/2013-CD$ 865----20 Undetectable Viral Load
08/2013- CD4-898----<20 undetectable viral load

Offline oksikoko

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  • Writing the congressman again
    • the treatment cascade
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #7 on: July 16, 2013, 02:36:56 PM »
Thanks, everyone. Now that I'm thinking about it, I probably posted just to be sure no one would say 'no, absolutely under no circumstances should you disclose in an interview'. It feels a bit weird, but I think it would be weirder not to in this instance.

I actually just got further instructions, and I need to provide some written details about how my experiences with HIV/AIDS, homelessness and mental health issues, treated and not, might impact my work. It's easier to bring it up in writing, and I think the consensus (seems like consensus?) here is right that these experiences are actually strengths in this case. I remember what it felt like to be positive with nowhere to sleep, unsure if there's a cavalry over the hill and unsure where the next pill bottle would be coming from if it's coming at all. I might have a little experience in the problems that can ensue with untreated mental health issues too. ;) Maybe.

It's funny. I had almost forgotten the dance of the seven veils required earlier this year to stay adherent. I had a new dealer each month: private insurance -> Gilead PAP -> ADAP -> Medicaid. I'll be using ADAP again already next month, so maybe there'll be a full cycle back over to private insurance after that. Maybe this was normal, but it seemed like a lot of paperwork for one prescription!

Thanks for your support and advice. I'll probably be away for a few days, but I'll let you know how things go.
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

Offline Jeff G

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  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #8 on: July 16, 2013, 03:01:51 PM »
I think they are going to be lucky to have you . My daddy told me one time that the best Blues Players have the blues . 

Offline skeebo1969

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Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #9 on: July 16, 2013, 04:19:37 PM »


    Good luck! 
I despise the song Love is in the Air, you should too.

Offline socalpoz

  • Member
  • Posts: 80
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #10 on: July 16, 2013, 07:04:47 PM »
From all that I have read you are insightful and received some priceless advice, all that I can add is best wishes, Good luck!
Diagnosed Jan. 22, 2011
feb/11 cd4 547, cd4% 37, vl 527
mar/11 cd4 650, cd4% 37, vl 97
may/11 cd4 698, cd4% 37, vl 303
jul/11 cd4 744, cd4% 39, vl 239
aug/12 cd4 675, cd4% 39, Vl 42
Jun/13 cd4 594, cd4% 38, Vl 1860
Jul/3/13 started Stribild
Aug/13 cd4 758 cd4% 43, vl ??

Offline friskyguy

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  • Posts: 103
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2013, 07:59:19 PM »
how about using an avatar.....wink wink, to explain your connection to hiv etc. Ie close friend, family member, close friend etc and use your personal experience via your avatar.....small 'white lie' in my book. good luck
Sero converted Sept '10 / Confirmed + Dec '10
Jan '11, VL 9,500 / CD4 482 (32%)
Feb '11, VL 5,800 / CD4 680 (37%)
start Atripla
Mch '11, VL UD / CD4 700 (42%)
Jun  '11, VL UD / CD4 750 (43%)
swap to Kivexa and Efav. due to osteopenia diag. (DEXA) / kidney issues ( decline in eGFR to 77 )
start supplements - Vit D3 / Omega 3 / multivitamin / mini aspirin
Dec '11,  VL UD <20 /  CD4 670 (49%)  / CD4:CD8 = 1.4
all labs now within normal ranges
Mch '12,  VL UD / CD4 600 (51%)
Sep '12,  VL UD / CD4 810 (51%)
Mch '13   VL UD / CD4 965 (56%)
Sep '13   VL UD / CD4 (not taken)
Dec '13   VL UD / CD4 901 (35%) / CD4:CD8 = 1.1  /  eGFR > 100

Offline tednlou2

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  • Posts: 4,613
Re: A Disclosure Pickle
« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2013, 08:33:31 PM »
This is a different situation from interviewing at Ford, for example.  You wouldn't discuss homelessness and medical status with them.  However, they would ask what skills you have and work experience. 

In this situation where you are working with homeless and poz folks, I would think they would want to know what experience you have in these areas.  It would seem having experienced both would be beneficial.  It would tell them that you have first hand knowledge of the issues.  Most employers do ask why you are interested in that work.  If someone applied to work with disabled kids, I can't imagine someone not mentioning they have a disabled child.  If someone applied to work with injured military folks, I can't imagine not mentioning having a spouse who lost limbs.  This would help explain ones passion.

This is an interesting question.  I mean, people don't need to have personally experienced these things, in order to be passionate about it.  They would just discuss their work history and knowledge of the work.  But, in these lines of work, it seems it could only help to discuss personal experience.  It is a great question, because in most lines of work, you would not share much personal info.  Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best. 

 


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