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HIV: Therapeutic Strategies for Guilt, Uncertainty, Taking Control
On the last track we emotional healing. The techniques provided on this track focus on healing emotions and encouraging growth as an additional way HIV positive clients can improve their immune systems.
On this track we will discuss understanding discrimination. Have you, like I, treated clients who not only needed help dealing with having HIV, but also needed help dealing with those who refuse to accept an HIV positive person? Because discrimination against clients who are HIV positive is sometimes prevalent in society, let’s examine four related topics. These will include the Louis Holiday case, five criteria for discrimination, reasonable accommodation, and assumed and direct threats.
#1 The Louis Holiday Case
During the physical exam, Holiday informed the doctor that he was HIV positive. Now, the Chattanooga Police Department does not have a policy that requires applicants to test negative for HIV. However, Holiday was informed that the city’s conditional offer of employment had been withdrawn because he had not passed the physical exam. When Louis Holiday asked why, the city claimed that it didn’t want to "put other employees and the public at risk by hiring" Holiday.
The city used possible blood to blood contact during police work as the basis for their argument. Later, however, the city withdrew these claims because there was no evidence that this was a reasonable assumption. Instead, the city began to claim that Holiday’s HIV positive status had nothing to do with the withdrawal of his employment offer.
Holiday decided to take the matter to court, where a judge ruled in his favor, stating that Holiday "was entitled to be evaluated based on his actual abilities and relevant medical evidence, and to be protected from discrimination founded on fear, ignorance, and misconceptions."
The ACLU used Holiday’s case to make it clear that employers cannot discriminate against employees or job applicants because they have HIV.
#2 Five Criteria for Discrimination
#3 Reasonable Accommodation
For example, Steven was an HIV positive client of mine. Steven worked as a computer programmer. Steven suffered from occasional severe bouts of nausea caused by his medication. His employer provided Steven with equipment that he could use to work from home on those days. Do you have a client like Steven who could benefit from knowing his or her rights regarding reasonable accommodation?
#4 Assumed and Direct Threats
I discussed with Garrett that he was correct in his belief that HIV can only be spread through exposure to bodily fluids which carry the virus. But I asked Garrett, "Did the airline tell you that you were being fired because you may transmit the virus to a customer or co-worker?" Garrett understood that if the airline had fired him to prevent infection, they would be operating under assumed threat.
However, Garrett stated, "No. They said I am a direct threat. It is the airline’s policy not to employ HIV positive pilots because possible bouts of dementia can be a danger to the safety of passengers." How does your client’s concern regarding discrimination relate to assumed and direct threats?
Do you have a client like Louis Holiday, Steven, or Garrett? Could your client benefit from listening to this track?
On this track we discussed understanding discrimination. Because discrimination against clients who are HIV positive is sometimes prevalent in society, we examined four related topics. These included the Louis Holiday case, five criteria for discrimination, reasonable accommodation, and assumed and direct threats.
On the next track we will discuss taking control of life. Three ways you can help your client begin taking control of his or her life include dividing and conquering, positive denial, and maintaining equilibrium.
Perception of Patients with HIV/AIDS from Stigma and Discrimination
- Mandana, S., Kermanshahi, S. M. K., Mohammadi, E., and Mohraz, M. (2015). Perception of Patients with HIV/AIDS from Stigma and Discrimination. Iran Red Crescent Med J., 17(6). p. 1-7. doi: 10.5812/ircmj.23638v2
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Frye, V., Paige, M. Q., Gordon, S., Matthews, D., Musgrave, G., Greene, E., Kornegay, M., Farhat, D., Smith, P. H., Usher, D., Phelan, J. C., Koblin, B. A., & Taylor-Akutagawa, V. (2019). Impact of a community-level intervention on HIV stigma, homophobia and HIV testing in New York City: Results from project CHHANGE. Stigma and Health, 4(1), 72–81.
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