My journey with HIV has been a rollercoaster ride…
With my whole career at stake, I was more worried about my career than my health. I wasn't worried about how I got it, I was more worried about whom I could have given.
During the final year of my bachelor's degree, I was admitted to the hospital for some medical procedure and in the preliminary tests, I was diagnosed with HIV.
My heart sank when the doctor first told me.
The doctors were empathetic and made my process of understanding easier. The thought of losing my career was very painful because I had worked really hard to secure a job. But my whole world was shattering in front of my eyes while I was in pain due to the medical procedure. It was the lowest point of my life. My employer had rejected me based on my HIV diagnosis while saying some derogatory comments and asking me personal questions.
Keeping my HIV status from my parents was the hardest part because I had to give them a reason why my employer had let me go. Nevertheless, they always supported me in my choice and decisions.
I am very happy that I didn't work for my previous employer; and instead, I came to Canada to do further studies and live a better life.
Over the course of 5 years, I have learned that HIV isn't something that can define me.
It will take me down if I let it. But if I aim to achieve higher and to be happy, it will make me stronger. I've gone through some hard times in my life. This makes me appreciate even more the life that I have and the success I may achieve in the future.
Did you know?
Approximately 15% of people who participated in the Stigma Index in Ontario believed that at some point in their life, they had been refused employment or had lost a job because of their HIV status.
What’s even more troubling is that over half (56%) of participants believed that they would lose their job if their employers were to find out about their HIV status. That’s an astounding number of people living in fear of losing their job and their primary source of income.