ON THE WAY TO ENDING AIDS : CASE OF WORKPLACE DISCRIMINATION

In December 2019, my position as a credit control analyst in the company was being upgraded to a permanent one. It was great pride for me that my hard work had paid off and I was looking forward to better things to come.

Unfortunately, it all came crashing down after a mandatory health screening ‘outed’ me as a Person Living with HIV.

I was called by the HR department to explain why I did not declare my status and I was faced with the prospect of being terminated. I was also asked the intimate question on how I contracted HIV.

I was devastated. This has never happened before. My job was in jeopardy and my personal life exposed.

In the next few months, I wrestled with anxiety and thought of the many possible outcome of the predicament that I was in at that time.

In my confusion, I was directed by a Family Medicine Specialist from the Ministry of Health to seek assistance from the Malaysian AIDS Council (MAC).

Thankfully, MAC helped me by outlining the course of action to be taken. It kept me focused.

After a series of appeals and discussions, I received my confirmation letter in March this year. It was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Looking back, I believe HR had acted based on fear and misinformation. I was lucky the company, especially HR, gave me the opportunity to plead my case despite their earlier reluctance to do so.

If there’s any advice that I can offer those facing the same dilemma, stand firm on your rights. Fight for it. Just like other people, you have the right not to share your personal details with anybody.

To the Human Resource Department of any company, if you ever encounter a PLHIV, I would like to plead, please be informed about the facts concerning HIV/AIDS before making any decision. It will greatly impact a person’s life.

25 years old, Credit Control Analyst
PLHIV since 2017