What was your experience entering the workforce once you were diagnosed with HIV?

Ivy's Answer

I cannot speak to entering the workforce after my HIV diagnosis,because when I was diagnosed in 1988, I continued to work full time and spent the next 10 years in denial. In 1998 I started a new job in a new state and was beginning to experience severe symptoms. By the time I made a doctor’s appointment, I had full blown AIDS. My boss had mentioned his concerns about my health, so when I advised him that I would need to take several hours of time off for extensive treatment each week, he did not ask me what was wrong and I was not ready to disclose my status to my co workers. What my boss did was allow me the flexibility to schedule all of my appointments during my work day without the fear of losing my job. The company offered me the option to enroll in the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) program. Based on my workplace experience, my recommendation for the newly diagnosed is to know your rights as an employee and educate yourself on the company’s policies. Most importantly, do everything within your power to minimize your health risks in the workplace and protect your privacy.  No one at your job needs to know your story,unless you choose to tell it.




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