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worried about my job
Jun 29, 2013

I am currently pregnant & close to my due date..5 days ago I got the call that my labs came back with some markers of being HIV +...when I got the call I was at work & basically fell in the floor crying...my super visor asked me what was wrong & I told her because I really wasn't thinking straight at the time...my question is do I have to tell her I am positive? I really don't trust her & wish I hadn't said anything!! But I'm scared to lie & say I'm negative?? Please help I'm going crazy worried about my job.

Response from Ms. Douaihy

Dear writer,

Good luck in the last few days before you get ready to welcome your child into the world. I am sure you are experiencing shock about your new diagnosis. Please avail yourself of the incredible support, expertise and information available on thebody.com's "Just diagnosed" section. You are not alone.

Now to your question. You did not say what your profession is, but most jobs do not come with any duty to disclose your status to your co-workers or employer. Even if you work in the healthcare field, you only have a duty to inform patients or employers that they are HIV positive if they perform invasive or "exposure-prone" procedures on patients. Specific guidelines are set out in the American Medical Association's "Guidance for HIV-Infected Physicians and other Health Care Workers", 2011.

If you do not have the duty to disclose, you don't have to. You absolutely cannot be fired solely due to your HIV positive status. Only if your disabling condition affects your ability to perform essential job functions can your employer make an issue out of your HIV status. In that event, you would still have the right to ask for a "Reasonable Accommodation," or an adjustment to the job so you could keep working. Please check out my answers to previous questions regarding discrimination in the workplace, in the Legal Issues Experts forum linked below, to learn more about rights and remedies for persons living with HIV/AIDS in the workplace.

Good luck and all the best in this chapter!



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