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Newly diagnosed less than 2 weeks and placed on leave by employer

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exarmyguy77:
also i will clarify, it was paid leave i placed on.  they stated they never have had a situation like this before and needed to see if the states that I operate in have rules and regulations about this.  any insight of specific rules for an HIV positive paramedic worker? 

buginme2:
Three things:

1.  Good job in discovering your infection so early in the process and starting meds right away.  Based on all the latest research you are helping yourself in great ways by treating this so early.  Don't stop taking the meds.  Really. 

2. Any side effects you experience will prob go away after a week or two so just stick it out.  Also, you may be able to simplify your meds.  I would suggest going with Truvada and tivicay once you are undetectable.  (As long as your resistance test supports it.)

3.  Are you a parametric for a local government or a private company.  If it's a local government ask your hr for an APF form (activity prescription form). Depending on the state you live in it may be called something else.   Basically, your doctor fills it out and will release you to work with or without restrictions.  Make sure you doctor clearly states you are released to work with no restrictions and are not an infectious risk to others. 

If you work for a government agency and they still don't allow you to work after your doctor releases you for full duty, contact your union (if your unionized, which most government paramedics would be).  At that point your union has a "duty to represent" to make sure you are returned to full duties. 

Also, I wish you had posted here before you went on FMLA. 

mecch:

--- Quote from: exarmyguy77 on December 07, 2013, 11:49:16 AM ---mecch thank you for the input on that, I will check into antihistimines.  I suppose I feel like I've recovered from the seroconversion and it just feels like its meds causing the issues.  I'm very type A personality and always feel like I need a plan or an anticipated recovery plan and need to know what is going on and what the pills are doing and how long it will take.  I go back to the doctor on the 16th, we will see what happens then.  Any other advice from anyone for dizziness?  Also rapidrod, do you know if for any reason they can refuse to let me work once the vertigo is resoloved?  I don't have sex with patients and bleed on them, I don't feel I'm a risk to anyone.

--- End quote ---
For the time being, HIV infection is forever. You will have some advantages going on HAART smack at the beginning of your seroconversion, but its still a major infection and everything will probably take some time to settle down. Also, for quite a few, the initiation of HAART is a bit of a shock to the system.  Eventually there as well, you get used to the treatment. Side effects go away.  Everyone is individual - who gets what on what combo. 
The bad news my friend for a Type A is that you can't predict a lot of this, how long,when, how its going to feel etc etc etc.  You have already seen that things move at their own pace as far as the testing, response times, appointments, monitoring, carefully considering things like treatment switches, etc.  Patiently dealing with side effects. 
Right away you should already be treating the diarrhoea with over the counter or prescription medicine.
I recommended the antihistamines because of the rash.  Who's to say if the rash is part of the HIV infection or the treatment - these are things that you discuss with your doctor and specialists. I had misc rashes all through my first year.  I had an allergic reaction to my second combination and my third. The fourth was a charm. The first was good, until it effected me psychologically.   All that took time, sorry to say.   But it is doable.  But it doesn't fall well into type A expectations or someone who can't make peace with answers that are "maybe, let's see, or let's try this or try that."

exarmyguy77:
Thanks guys.  I work for a private company, I really wish I would have posted here before FMLA as well.  I was just taking the advice of my case worker and trying to do the right thing.  I didn't want to be in trouble for missing work.  I have always had pretty much perfect attendance in school and work my whole life, people knew if I was calling in sick that there was something obviously wrong with me.  We do not have a union or anything, I'm pretty much at the mercy of my HR department right now and what they feel is right.  It makes me very sad because they are treating me like a risk.  They are uneducated and concerned that I may contact a patient that makes me more sick or I may touch someone and they contract the disease or they feel like I'll bleed all over someone and give it to them.  I understand their perspective but they have no idea how silly they sound with this.  Thank you all for your input.  I'm hoping that the symptoms improve soon and I may safely drive, etc so I can go to work and that my work makes the right choice in their action.  I really don't want the drama of having to find a new job that pays as well and explain what happened, etc.  I'm dishearted to know that we live in a society where people still treat HIV as if we need placed in a tube or something and we are all going to die. 

Dan0:
Not that I work in the health field but I do work in a company with thousands of employees and we (managers, supervisors, directors) were mandated to go to intensive training on how to handle instances related to the ADA and HIPPA. 

The FMLA guidelines that we have to subscribe to are very rigid. In fact, the only person(s) who would review what the physician submitted on the FMLA forms would be one or two people in health services, and then what is disseminated is simply an 'approval' indicating that it is long-term or sporadic and an estimate of time needed which we have to make exceptions for.

Our group of highly paid lawyers in DC are resolute! No one in the management teams have any right to see what it is 'for'.  I have several people who have FMLA and the only thing that I know is that they 'may' be requiring time off due to this. When someone comes up to me and mentions that they need FMLA the first thing that I say QUICKLY is that I will get them the forms but they have no responsibility to disclose anything to me nor do I want them to!

What I took out of all this 'training' and as someone who is HIV positive in this work environment is that I have a LOT of rights, particularly in light of the ADA and HIPPA.  Don't lose sight of this. The most information that I received on all this came not from HR but from our Health Services department. They seem to be very focused on the issues and not with the interdepartmental crap that inserts itself into these things.

Best of luck!

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