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Author Topic: I am batling with the stigma more than the virus  (Read 4669 times)

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Offline 27years

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I am batling with the stigma more than the virus
« on: July 24, 2007, 04:19:33 PM »
Hope someone can relate to my situation and help me move on.  I am in the forces (not USA).  i tested poz last year after having a meeting with one of my medical colonel who told me that my medical grading wasnt going to change because i looked fit. i was happy to get tested and accepted my poz result without any problem.  i informed my military dr who said i had to be monitored by the GUM dr which was fine.  at this point i did not have any problem at all, i deployed to a war zone and my dr was happy for me to go as long as i stayed at the base.  he didnt see me as a threat to anyone unless if i got injured to the extent that i cant talk.  after 4 months one of the colonels whom i havent even seen or met decided to withdraw me from where i was immediately.  i phoned my dr asking what was going on and he told me it wasnt his choice but someone of higher authority.  i asked how he got my medical records and he told me that they had to pass them on to him since he is in authority.  i asked my dr if i could stay for another month until when i was due to return and he was happy to leave me there.  on return i went to speak to him to clariffy what was going on as the first colonel i met told me nothing was going to change workwise, my dr himself did not understand why the other colonel came to that conclusion considering he hasnt even seen me in person and worse of he said i am not allowed to deploy anywhere, thats when everything began to sink in.  I feel so stuck up being at one place and considering how i liked my job but now i have lost all the intrest  i havent got any medical problem at the moment i feel alright for now.  My blood test are ok and the Gum dr said I dont have to be on any medication, Strange enough my exboyfriend who refused to get tested does not have any medical restrictions he can go anywhere do all the duties without any problem.  Personally i think someone who doesnt know has got more chances of passing it on to others unknowingly.  I asked if they was anyone iin the same situation as me but unfortunately they cant tell me its private,  i havent got anyone to turn to at the moment.  Having the virus should be bad enough on its own but for me its the stigma which it has come with in my carrier.  Does anyone know any military policies on HIV poz personnel.  Its a pity that i am a junior rank and i have to battle against senior officials and i dont know if its worse because i am a women.  Surely if i was told the truth of what was gonna happen i wouldnt have bothered testing because i havent benefited from being poz beside not passing it on to another person.  i think i can understand why some people end up in denial, bad as things can be i will keep trying to make the best out of the worst
Nobody dies a virgin life screws us all up

Offline BT65

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Re: I am batling with the stigma more than the virus
« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2007, 09:16:57 PM »
I believe I read that if you're poz and in the military, you can't "actively" serve, like in combat.  If I can find the thread to that again, I'll post it.  I'm not in the military myself though.  I hope things work out for you.  Keep us posted!
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Offline emeraldize

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Re: I am batling with the stigma more than the virus
« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2007, 09:59:12 PM »
Hi 27

Not knowing which country you serve and then not having access to your military force's policies and procedures makes it impossible to offer commentary.

What I do sense clearly is your frustration, feeling your career is threatened and that you believe non-disclosure ( like your ex-boyfriend chose ) may have protected your options had you known to withhold information.

You must ask the questions you ask of us to your commanding officer(s) or the appropriate departments' contact personnel. They should be able to provide policy information in writing.

I wish you success.


Offline Dragonette

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Re: I am batling with the stigma more than the virus
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2007, 05:04:07 AM »

sorry to hear all that... you have handled your diagnosis & everything with so much integrity. I am really amazed at many of the stories I read here. I keep wanting to write that you're a trooper and I salute you but it will sound like a pun, but anyway it's true!

 I think you should post also in the Living with HIV forum, there might be guys there who have served, you will get more input.

I don't have a good op on armies, but I know that they should at least pretend to have some officer in a social function that you can talk to on issues such as these, you know someone to look after your wellfare. There has to be someone you can turn to? What if you were sexually harassed, what if you needed a break to tend to someone sick? That's the person you would go to but I am not sure what this function is called in English. the person could advise you of your rights, perhaps you could appeal to a higher authority, or threaten with publicity. But then of course that would be quite a crusade. perhaps you could try to meet up with this person who decides your future without even seeing you, but of course in the army he is perfectly entitled to do that. maybe you could still request an appointment with him though, if he didn't chage his mind at least it might live you with a feeling of empowerment of actually trying to do something.

In big organizations in general and in the army in particular looking for sense is futile but it doesn't hurt to try.

Wishing you all the luck and all the best,
"If you keep one foot in yesterday, and one in tomorrow, you piss all over today". Betty Tacy

Offline Ulong

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Re: I am batling with the stigma more than the virus
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2007, 04:30:20 PM »
I was in the military, but since it was the U.S. I can't offer any specific advice. Do y'all have the equivalent of the JAG or Inspector General Office? The IG in particular served as ombudsmen when the chain of command went nuts. They're independent.

 I know our military has policies and procedures in writing on HIV positive soldiers, so there's a good chance that yours does too. It sounds like there is a policy on disclosure if they can't tell you about specific others in your situation. So likely there's other policies on deployment status or assignments. 

You're in a frustrating situation. I can relate to being yanked around at the whim of some anonymous higher-up. It sounds pessimistic, but if you have a CO out to get you, they're going to get you one way or another. Unfortunately, (in this situation) the military has much more control than the civilian world--and it's just as full of ignorant people.  I transferred to another unit after I tested positive to get away from an officer or two making my life miserable. The  new job sucked. The payoff was not having to look over my shoulder all the time or worry about getting kicked out.

I think you should post also in the Living with HIV forum, there might be guys there who have served, you will get more input.

I second the notion. Although if they don't know the country or branch of service, anyone will have a hard time with giving practical advice. You will get plenty of support, and if that's what you're looking for, specifics aren't necessary.


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