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Return to work?
Jul 29, 2004

Dear Nancy. I am an hiv poz 50 year old male. I work for the government in the province of Ontario. I have been on LTD for two years due to hiv fatigue and side effects of meds. I am now feeling as if I could manage a bit at work. However I am hesitant to do so as I have heard from reliable sources that once people return to work everything is ok for the first 3 mos or so..then bang you are terminated for some "silly" reason. IF this is true I am fearful of even broaching the subject of return to work and am too old and tired to be looking for new work at this time. Let alone deal with the added stress. Perhaps I am better to remain at home. Your thoughts and opinions please..Thanks

Response from Ms. Breuer

You don't say what the limitations are of your LTD. I'd suggest starting there: if you do return to work for several months and then find that you need to go back onto LTD, under what conditions would that be possible? What do you risk by returning to work? Is that risk acceptable to you?

Another thought: going directly from LTD to full-time work can be exhausting. Check your policy to see if there's any way you can build up gradually to a full-time schedule. If not, sometimes the best way to build up your work-hardiness is to take on an enjoyable volunteer job and gradually increase your hours. If you can take it up to full time without exhausting yourself, probably you could return to your job.

But most important: what does your health care provider think? Maintaining your health is Job #1. Returning to a job is in second place. If your CD4s and viral load suggest that you can handle it, then I'd say move ahead with ideas 1 and 2 above. But if your clinical indicators suggest caution, please stay with your present situation.

In general terms, those are my thoughts. I wish you well!



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