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HIV/AIDS: Is It a Disability?

Is HIV/AIDS Considered a Disability?

Is HIV/AIDS Considered a Disability? What is a disability? It is defined as an impairment of the physical, cognitive, and mental stance of an individual. It is a condition that not only interferes with the individual’s ability to engage in different life activities but also limits his or her undertaking to certain tasks or duties.

The immune system is just one of the many functions of our body that can be largely affected by a disability. This impairment can pave the way for different infections, illnesses, and diseases to invade the body. HIV/AIDS is one of the many infections that can cause the immune system to weaken and ultimately the whole body to exhaust.

Regardless of the absence of symptoms, an individual who tested positive for the infection (HIV) can be tagged as a person with a disability. This is supported by ADA or the Americans with Disabilities Act, legislation working to protect individuals from discrimination.

The said civil rights legislation keeps an eye on individuals who face discrimination in their workplace. These discriminations may include boiling pots for promotions, training, hiring, and even on occurrences where firing is most observed and abused inside an office.

Aside from employment, ADA also expands their legal influence to safeguard individuals with disabilities, especially those who are diagnosed with HIV, from the inequitable mores and practices in many operations. Some of these many include hotel accommodations, health clubs, small clinics, dental offices, restaurants or food hubs, and even small or big retail stores.

 

ADA and SSA

Two of the major governing bodies or legislation that protect individuals with impairments or defects are ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) and SSA (Social Security Administration). How are they connected with the human immunodeficiency virus?

If we compare the most convenient rights law when tackling HIV infection, it is ADA that will have more edges. ADA recognizes an individual with the infection to be disabled regardless of the absence of different signs of illnesses; however, SSA will not consider such a condition since physical impairment must be present during the application. A maximum of 12 months since the interference of physical activities, including work or employment, is necessary for the said program.

SSA will only recognize a disability if an HIV-positive person hasn’t been normally functioning for a year since the diagnosis. Note that SSA will note the infected individual’s signs of illnesses and fully-detailed medical records. If none of these do meet their requirements, regardless of the diagnosis, the SSA program is not applicable for infected individuals.

 

List of benefits provided to HIV-positive people

Here is the list of the trusted programs or assistance that HIV-positive individuals can take advantage of and avail to support them during their treatment, as well as their journey to recovery.

  • Health Center Program – With this program, the ability to pay is not a concern. It gives HIV-positive people the chance to live longer following the availability of this program’s health services.
  • Medicaid – Diagnosed individuals can avail themselves of this assistance wherever state they are a part of. However, eligibility requirements may be necessary.
  • Ryan White Program – This program is based on the story of Ryan White. One of the guidelines to avail of this program is not being able to pay for your medication costs.

 

How to handle discrimination

It is common knowledge that discrimination is everywhere, regardless of the illness or condition you are having. Those who are diagnosed with the said infection are placed in the spotlight of hatred and inequity. Today, as the stigma of the infection remains rampant and present, it is hard for these people to act and live how they want to. This discrimination can happen in school, the workplace, hospitals, and even at home.

Note that protection programs are available today. If there is any refusal to the guidelines of the anti-discriminatory programs, report them immediately and have them answer their blunders and mistakes.

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