Stigma be damned! – Becoming a Health Care Worker with HIV

I have so many doubters in my life. So many people who cannot fathom how or why I have decided to recertify as a CNA, and enter into being a health care worker. I hear it from all corners and it’s been never ending since the idea came to be.

“You can’t work in healthcare if you have HIV”
“Your vision loss can be dangerous and you can’t work like that.”
“Your just not physically able to do anything anymore, so why this?”

I have heard it all and I have heard it constantly. I have a few things to say about this, and I hope you haters are listening because this is really for you.

In the State of Florida, the Board of Nursing cannot bar a person solely for being HIV positive. With adequate ARV treatment and proper universal precautions, there is little to no risk to the patient or to the health care worker. Eat that you blood suckers! The law is clear!

Oh, and let’s talk about my ability to see. I have been blind in my right eye long enough to have adapted to my body’s ergonomics and I have adapted to every situation I have been in. I was told I would never work on a computer again. I would always be blind and that it would not get better, but would get worse. I would never recover. Bullshit.

In every way I have recovered from my blindness. Yes, I physically cannot see out of my right eye, and I have low right side peripheral vision, but I have been a CNA and I know the job. My eyesight is more than adequate for the job. I have very good vision in my left eye, and the condition is stable. If I can beat a video game, use two computers at one time, and see enough to walk through my neighborhood for 3 miles a day, I have proved them all wrong.

I am watching a little lady right now, and I do that just fine. I am confident in my ability.
I can lift, push, pull, and move 50lbs or more. I am already hepatitis A and B immune, and have a recent negative TB test. I have a clean criminal and civil record. I have more than enough training. I am in all ways able and competent to be a CNA.

I admit, there is a small part of me that is doing this just because they are saying I can’t. I guess it’s a character flaw of mine. It feels like a dare to me.

“You can’t do it… NANANANA”, like a child’s school ground dare. “I triple dog dare you!”

I accept the challenge, and Ill raise you with my other obligations. I will not accept that this is it, and I should accept the end. I am a warrior and I am fighting on.
The haters are going to hate. I will never give them any of my joy. It’s too late for them now; I’m on a rocket ship to my dreams. Doubt me, and watch me bust that doubt. Stigma be damned.

Stigma be damned!

With love,
“Your Friend David”

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