August #50 : HIV Tat Spat - by Gabi Horn

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
E-newsletters
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join
Username:
Password:

Back to home » Archives » POZ Magazine issues




Table of Contents

Bug Bugaboo

The Universe, Concealed

The Curious Closets of Barton Benes

Trailblazer

Net Serve

Catching Up With...

S.O.S

To the Editor

Court to Mom: “Don’t Milk It”

HIV Tat Spat

Livin' la Vida Loca

Heaven’s Gates

Say What

No Sharp Shooter

Squibb’s Dibs

Tooth Fairy

Meds Downed in Lockup

Coming Attraction

POZ Picks

Enigma of the People

Thymus of the Essence

The AIDS-Friendly HMO

Someone's in the kitchen with...

Thorne on Our Side

Obits

The Bully

A Spy in the House of Love

Is the Crisis Over?

Get Over It

More on the Nuke-Lipo Link

Viagra, Poppers and...

60 Years!?!

Toot the Hormone

Penny Pincher

Smear Campaign

Loading Zone

See Emily Play

Shagalicious Shaw



Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle

Shingles

Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV


email print

August 1999

HIV Tat Spat

by Gabi Horn

Six years ago, John Baldetta,  a nursing aide at Seattle’s Harborview Hospital, rolled up his sleeves and got fired. His HIV positive tattoo would upset patients so much, claimed Harborview honchos, that they made him cover it and forbade him from discussing HIV. Baldetta, now 34, cried discrimination and won several partial, precedent-setting victories, including a ’96 free-speech ruling that PWAs have the right to disclose in the workplace. An unfavorable discrimination verdict set him back in April, and though he has replaced the HIV tat with a band of hands and found work at another hospital, he’s still fighting for the right to bare arms.  

Did patients freak about the tattoo?

No, it was the paper-pushers upstairs who had a problem with it. They said people were so afraid of contracting HIV that it would “negatively affect patient outcome in recovery.” When I refused to cover it, I was shown the door.

How did patients respond to it?

Sometimes they asked about risk, or about how my parents handled it. I’d answer, or refer them to ASOs, but I never gave treatment advice. Harborview said talking about AIDS wasn’t part of my job description, but it’s not like I was screaming “AIDS” and handing out pamphlets.

It’s ironic that a hospital fired you for announcing you have a disease.

It just shows how AIDS is a presence in society but not in the workplace. During jury selection, when asked if they’d object to a health care worker with HIV, four out of 16 people left.

Why did you replace the tattoo?

A lot of the reasons I got it—to regain control, commit to safer sex and show that people with HIV can be on the caring side of illness—have been accomplished. Some people are relieved it’s gone, as if that’ll make me HIV negative again. Sorry, I can’t be negative for anyone’s comfort level, whether it’s on my arm or not.




[Go to top]

Join POZ Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar


    dhsd777
    san diego
    California


    Loveladyd
    Washington
    DC


    Fred9774
    Brooklyn
    New York


    pozsmith1
    East Bay
    California
Click here to join POZ Personals!
Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Poll
Have you ever been tested for hepatitis C?
Yes
No

Survey
Pop Watch

more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2014 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.