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Feb 2, 2003

I work for a bus company and have been employed there full time there for about 2 years now. I have been diagnosed HIV+ for the last year. I have missed several days due to the medications and their side effects that include, diarreah, fatique, and rash. My V-Load currently is Undetectable and my TCells are still well over 600. My question is, will FMLA cover me for those days when I cannot attend work? I am concerned about my attendance at this time and need to look into FMLA policy.

Another aspect is, what about my anonymity of revealing that I am HIV+? Is there a way my Doctor can fill out the form so that it is not revealed?

Concerned in California

Response from Ms. Breuer

The FMLA form does ask for your diagnosis. Before you submit the form, make an appointment with the most senior person in your HR or benefits department to ask how your privacy is protected when you submit a request for leave under FMLA. Remind that person of his/her duty to keep your medical information confidential.

FMLA leave is not, as far as I know, retroactive. You have to apply for it ahead. If you are concerned about attendance because of medication side effects, please discuss that issue with your health care provider and ask what you can do about your work attendance. Your provider may be able to suggest a reasonable accommodation that you could ask for at work. In the long term, it would also be worthwhile to ask your provider whether there are medications that reach the same goals without side effects that interfere with your attendance.

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