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Decisions about disclosure of HIV status are personal ones. People living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) can benefit from being empowered with diverse information in making their disclosure decisions. For some, there may be compelling reasons to consider disclosure in specific situations when it has not previously been their general inclination. For others, it may be better to choose not to disclose or to disclose in only certain situations, when they may have preferred being generally open about their HIV status.

In employment, there may possibly be circumstances where a needed accommodation may be available only through disclosure. It may, though, be possible to effectively request a needed accommodation by disclose having a disability without revealing it to be HIV-related.

Some people living with HIV/AIDS have valued being open about their HIV status, to be free of secrets, to work to reduce HIV stigma, or for other reasons. In employment and in the job search, it could work more in the individual’s interest to withhold disclosure. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers cannot discriminate based on HIV status, and must protect the confidentiality of information about HIV status of PLWHA. However, these protections do not apply to co-workers, and sometimes it may be that an employment environment becomes less supportive and comfortable for an individual who’s know as HIV-positive.

These situations point out the present and continuing importance of HIV education across our communities. There is no “one size fits all” in decision-making about disclosure. People living with HIV/AIDS benefit from access to information, support and respect for their individual decision-making about disclosure in employment.

Information About Disclosure of HIV Status and Other Disabilities

Employment and Living with HIV/AIDS: A Resource Guide – see Question #6
Source: U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy

To Tell or Not To Tell: Disclosing Your HIV Status (in English)
Lo digo o no lo digo: Revelar tu estado (diagnóstico) de VIH (In Spanish)
Includes sections titled “The Workplace: Co-Workers” and “The Workplace: Employers”

Your Legal Rights: HIV at Work

Your Rights as a Woman with HIV/AIDS: Your Job
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Sercices, Office on Women’s Health

Questions and Answers: The Americans with Disabilities Act and Persons with HIV/AIDS
Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section

Disclosing HIV Status in Employment
Source: National Working Positive Coalition

Ask the Experts About: Workplace and Insurance Issues
Source: The Body: HIV/AIDS Online Resource

HIV And The Workplace: An Update For Employers
Source: Ogletree Deakins Labor and Employment Law

Disclosing HIV Status at Work
Source: NAM > aidsmap