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HIV discrimination?

September 3, 2010

In all honesty, I’ve not experienced much discrimination based upon my HIV status. That’s primarily because I don’t disclose to very many people. When I was diagnosed, my co-workers found out because I was told while I was at work. So I’ve had some experiences with them, such as not eating food I bring in, buying plastic gloves and a first aid kit for the office and a couple of hurtful emails I have come across.

I can handle discrimination against myself. But it’s my son I worry about most. I never want him to feel ashamed, embarrassed or hurt because of me. I remember the pride I always had (and still have) for my parents. I truly hope my son holds the same pride for me. I’m very fearful that when he enters school, his peers will find out and make it a very difficult situation for him.

My son just began speech therapy. At the first appointment, I completed paperwork, which happened to ask if he had been exposed to anything in pregnancy. I listed HIV, as I am always honest with any type of medical professional. The first appointment went great, the therapist seemed to do an amazing job and my son loved her.

Yesterday, she still did a great job and my son still loved her. But I was apprehensive. When she tried to help my son form a sound with his mouth, she put on a plastic glove. I’m just not sure what to think of this. Is it because he was exposed to HIV? Is this something she does for every child?

When I saw her pull out the glove box, I felt so embarrassed and tears came to my eyes. I pulled myself together and at the end of the session, I asked “Do you have any question? Like about the HIV or anything?” She seemed somewhat surprised or maybe caught of guard and stated no. She went onto say that she puts the gloves on for everyone since it “cuts down on cold and flu symptoms.” I’m not sure if I believe her or not. But for now, my son is happy and I’m going to continue to take him there, at least until I see something else.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. jae permalink
    September 3, 2010 12:11 pm

    I am in the healthcare field. I would be upset if she wouldn’t have put a glove on. She touches many things a day. Then if she were to touch a patients face that could expose him to many germs. Would you feel the same if a dentist put gloves and an eye shield on during an exam? Theses are called universal precautions.
    It doesn’t matter to me who you are and what you may or may not have. Everyone gets touched with a gloved hand. For my protection and for theirs. It is much easier to pass MRSA & the cold or flu virus. These are professionals they do treat everyone equally.

  2. jae permalink
    September 3, 2010 1:53 pm

    My mistake not healthcare… its precautions. Sorry

  3. sarah permalink
    December 1, 2010 5:17 pm

    I found your blog via TheFrisky, I just wanted to state that I work in a speech therapy office and yes it is standard practice to use gloves (we use bubblegum-flavored ones!). There are a lot of colds/viruses that get transmitted in the children’s daycares, schools, etc and it’s just a precaution for the therapists. Also, we do have some kiddos that drool quite a bit and others like to bite so that little layer of protection helps a bit. I think you’re a wonderful mother by the way 🙂

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