If you are applying for a new job,
the only thing your potential employer has the right to ask is if you are healthy enough
to do the job. You are not required to disclose your HIV status. If you are already
employed, you don't need to tell anyone at work about your HIV status. But there are
some times when it might be to your benefit to tell your employer, particularly if your
illness or its treatment interferes with work.
Here's what you need to know:
You are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act. As long as you can do your job, your employer must make reasonable accommodations to help you.
Get a letter from your healthcare provider explaining what kind of help you need. This could be extra rest. Or it may be a change in your schedule or work assignments.
Tell your employer you want
to keep working. Let them know if you want to keep your HIV status private.
If in doubt about your legal rights, talk to a benefits counselor or a legal expert.
If you are having a hard time
telling anyone, talk with an experienced healthcare provider or social worker. Or you
can contact an HIV service organization for help. One such organization is Project
Inform. Project Inform has a health information line and 24-hour emotional support line
that can help you practice what you would say to people, among other benefits. You can
reach them at 800-822-7422 or 800-628-9240, or online.
Telling people about your HIV
status can be very difficult. But once you have told the people who need to know, it can
be a great relief. You won't need to hide or be afraid any longer, and these people may
make it easier for you to live with and thrive with HIV infection. Often people find
that after disclosing, the relationships that really count get closer and