A Young Positive’s story Job Seeking:

With all the daily findings, living with HIV has been simplified each day but some aspects that are given lesser attention are still a hindering factor that complicates care and treatment of the disease. While we reached out to fellow Young People Living with HIV/AIDS (YPLHIV) to see their survival in the economic market, we got astonishing responses and which came to my conclusion that it is easier for an HIV negative person to acquire a job than the HIV positive fellow. Many of the youths told me that they had missed out on very important jobs immediately after disclosure either for a fact that some company medical policies do not cater for HIV/AIDS related treatment or because the panel of interviewers throws a very strong discriminative statement.

For instance Jane (not real name) told us that during her interview, she was asked whether she had something else to say and she disclosed her HIV status to the panel though to her shock, a particular individual on that panel asked whether she will not spread the virus to the whole staff members. Even though there was a good salary scheme, she turned down the offer in fear for self stigma.  Another also disclosed to a particular panel that and her interview was immediately turned down with a claim that she is less competent.

Even though people have made it easier for us to disclose our HIV status, it becomes tougher to confess in circumstances that are economic related knowing that the biggest part of our lives depends on the economic stability. Being economically incapacitated means that there will be no balanced diet, no fuller medical care because even if the Anti-retroviral drugs are free, there will not be enough transportation to take you to a particular ART centre (Health Facility) to attain that service, and some HIV positive people need the money to support their other dependants or pay tuition and upkeep money.

Many HIV activists have come up to help out the situation for example to advocate for the formulation or help in the formulation of national and international based policies such as the HIV at work policy that supports positives within the age bracket of 15-49 (productive age) to get employed and not to be stigmatized amongst their peers at work place and they should be given medical leaves to attend to their health.
In conclusion, In order to help young PLHIV feel free to apply for the available jobs and also stand a chance to compete favorably in interviews, we should engage all stake holders to have in place practical measures that guard against HIV related stigma and discrimination in our communities. This will contribute to the improvement in the quality of life of all People Living with HIV/AIDS

Musah Lumumba & Allen Kyendikuwa
Y+ Advisory Group Members