June #124 : Mentors-June 2006 - by Nicole Joseph

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
 

Jazzed

Mentors-June 2006

A Growing Concern

Cover Q&A-June 2006




Supplemental Insurance

Oral Thursh Knockout

Med-Mix Warning

Chow, Babe

Tart Up Your PI

Food for Oil

Fatty Acid Trip

In the Key of Life

PREP School

PREP for the future

WAL-MART Special

Bush the Builder

The Domino Effect

Happy Birthday to Us




Can NYC Keep A Lid On AIDS?

Virgin Vaccine

Onward Christian Condoms

Earthwatch

Raining Men

Positive Change

Growing Pains

Dolled Up

That ’80s Show

I See Dead People




Editor's Letter-June 2006

Mailbox-June 2006



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

June 2006


Mentors-June 2006

by Nicole Joseph

Before sending out an office memo declaring that you’re positive, there’s a lot to consider. Rookie Richard Davis asks veteran Robert Darrow about the occupational hazards of disclosing on the job

Richard: I got my HIV test results over the phone while I was at work one day. I’m an office assistant at a law firm and have disclosed to only one person there, someone I’m close to. But I’m tired of making excuses for doctor’s appointments or for why I’m feeling sick. I’m considering telling my director, but don’t know if
I should. Where do you work, and does anybody there know you’re positive?

Robert: I’m the managing and artistic director of the Shreveport Little Theater in Shreveport, Louisiana. Everyone—not only at work but also in town—knows I’m positive and have AIDS. That’s because I became an activist around 1990. But it wasn’t always so easy for me to disclose in the workplace.  

Richard: I totally understand. When I heard my results, I felt numb and couldn’t really show emotion. I had to go on with my day like nothing was wrong. What were your worries about disclosing back when you were diagnosed?

Robert: I worked in the food and beverage industry then, so I feared I’d lose my job. In the mid-’80s, it wasn’t clear to the general public how the virus was transmitted. I had a friend who worked as a cook in a restaurant who was fired for having HIV. I worked for the owner of a restaurant and nightclub for three years while hiding my doctor’s appointments and my meds. But then I found out that his brother had AIDS, so I disclosed to him, and he was fine.  

Richard: Sometimes it’s hard to hide the fact that I’m positive. I do a little bit of
everything at work. I file stuff at the courthouse; I do all of the mail; and I’m constantly running around, so I’m very visible. I enjoy my job because I’m always in and out of the office, meeting new people. But I got pneumonia when I was first diagnosed, and my bosses freaked out when I had to take a month off. I’m worried that if I get sick again, they might say I’m slacking off and fire me.  

Robert: It is illegal to discriminate based on disability. But keep in mind that unless an employment dispute directly conflicts with the federal ADA [Americans With Disabilities Act] laws, employment issues are governed locally within the employee’s state. Before deciding about disclosure, check the ADA site [www.usdoj.gov/crt/ada] to learn your rights. It’s easy for an employer to terminate someone without justification; the burden is on the employee to prove that the termination was HIV related or violates ADA statutes. It’s always best to seek legal advice before disclosing. Many states have a legal organization that looks at these matters. [Lambda Legal is a national civil rights organization for LGBT and HIV positive individuals. Visit www.lambdalegal.org for information about your state.]

Richard: Since I work for a law firm, I would hope they’d have the wisdom not to think that they could get HIV just from being around me. There are other people in my office who have illnesses—there’s a woman who has cancer, and somebody else has congestive heart failure. Sometimes I wonder why they tell people about their diseases. I think I would be upset if people added me to that list and were like, “Oh, wait a minute, now we have somebody who has AIDS.”

Robert: It’s human nature to label people. But you can’t control what people think. Life is short, and, if at all possible, you should be honest about who you are. I would certainly think it through—don’t do anything drastic. But personally, I wouldn’t want to go through life with the stress of keeping that secret. I think stress is really bad on the immune system. If it’s possible, find a job where you can be open and honest about your status.

Interested in becoming a mentor? Looking for advice? Visit www.poz.com to sign up.  


[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


    zeze42
    Bay Area - Peninsula
    California


    TaintedloveDC
    Washington
    DC


    blaze11212
    brooklyn
    New York
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.