My Friend Revealed My HIV Positive Status

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Dear Andreus,

I am HIV positive and have been for many years.  I live a healthy life and maintain an undetectable status.  Even though a lot more people are educated now, and understand Undetectable = Untransmittable, there is still the fear of rejection when you first meet someone.  Regardless, I have never had an issue telling people right away, because honesty is integrity. Recently I met someone, and before I even had a chance to tell him, one of my friends who is a friend of his, told him my status. I am not bothered that he knows, but I don’t feel like it was my friend’s place or right to do so. Am I wrong?

Sincerely,

Arthur P.

Dear Arthur,

Unfortunately, there is still a lot of stigma and ignorance when it comes to HIV, and even other sexually-transmitted diseases and infections. HIV is not life-threatening as it was before, but there are laws in place to protect a person’s privacy. It is not okay to disclose someone else’s status, unless it is a life and death situation requiring that the information be shared.  There are a variety of laws, and HIPAA which prohibits the sharing of sensitive information in many environments. So, regardless of why it happened, it is not okay that your friend shared that information, because that is solely the right and responsibility of an individual to make that deeply personal decision for themselves. 

Dear Andreus,

I made one of the worst mistakes ever. We recently had a company game-night out. My boss and my co-workers all came, and we had a blast. There was a lot of drinking, and boundaries were crossed.  Before I knew it, I was in my boss’ bed. I must admit that I always had an attraction to him but avoided it because he is my boss. Now he is relentless. I recognize that it was equally both our faults, but I don’t want to continue this. I am afraid that if I reject him, I might get fired. I just don’t know what to do. 

Sincerely,

AJ 

Dear AJ,

Well, clearly, I don’t have to tell you how wrong this is. Mixing work and pleasure always invites trouble.  Unless you are married to your boss, those lines should never be crossed. The upside to this, is that you are an employee. Even though this unfortunate event took place, sexual harassment is never okay. As an employee you have rights, and more specifically rights within the workplace. Your boss should be aware of this, and if it continues, your safest bet is to reach out to human resources or whoever your designated representative is, to handle grievances.  For future reference, bosses and co-workers should be off-limits! 

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