I just passed my application and signed the job offer. I got a new job!
I am so excited. Training starts Tuesday next week (October 27)… or Monday, if they decide to change and make us start earlier.
Part of the pre-employment process is a medical exam. Gosh, another of it’s kind. The last time I went to this sort, I found out I was HIV positive. I wonder what’s in store for me this time.
Part of the medical examination is a drug test.
At the clinic, I was asked to fill out a form. There’s a portion there that asked if I was taking any medication and if yes, I needed to note what that medication is.
After a while, my name was called, I was asked to fill two plastic containers. Then, I was asked to sign the labels that would go with the containers.
While in the process of signing, I saw the clinic personnel, who were seated beside me, put in a pregnancy test looking thing into one of the plastic bottles I filled. In less than 30 seconds, two pink lines appeared.
At that point my heart was pounding.
I jokingly asked her, if that two lines means I am pregnant? She laughed and said that means my test result is negative.
Whew! What a relief!
I have to be honest. I was scared going through this drug testing. I am a little concerned that my test result with come out positive. I read that some people on Efavirenze receive a false positive test for marijuana when drug-screening tests are used.
You see, I have been confirmed to be a Possie for almost two years now and I’ve been on ARV medication pretty much the same time. Right now I am taking a combination of Lamivudine, Zidovudine and Efavirenze.
I was so paranoid that I made sure to take in lots of water the evening before and on the day of the medical exam, since drug testing uses urine as a specimen. I As a result, I was peeing like a fountain, not running out of water to spurt.
Frankly, I didn’t want to declare that I am on medication. More so, state that I am on antiretroviral medication. But as a person who is not very good with lies (not even white lies), I ticked yes on the questionnaire and wrote that I am on ARV.
I did not want to state that I am on ARV because I feared that if the company finds out about my HIV status; they will not proceed hiring me.
What was I thinking? I already signed the job offer. Recruitment already congratulated me for passing. I did it. I am qualified for the job.
Then I had a realization.
However knowledgeable I am with R.A. 8504 (Aids Prevention and Control Act of 1988), regardless of the coming out experiences I’ve made and the number of people who’s been so loving and supportive of me, I realized that it still feel different when I am the one in “the” situation.
This is the first time I encountered this kind of situation. I felt that I have something to lose. Even though that is not the case.
According to R.A. 8504, Article VII, Section 35, It is unlawful to discriminate, not hire someone or terminate them on the bases of actual, percieved or suspected HIV status.
Anyone proven to be guilty of violating the above mentioned can be imprisoned from six months to four years with a fine not exceeding PHP 10,000.00. Additionally, their licenses/permits shall be revoked.
I am glad I came out negative on my drug test. I am also happy of the new experience I gained. It gave me more understanding and a better perspective on why some People Living with HIV like me has work related fears.
Know you rights. Knowledge is one of your tools for survival.