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Working with HIV

We're supporting everyone to live, work, and study positively at Warwick.

Being HIV+ can present challenges at work, but the University can support you. The University's HIV Guidelines can be found here, and the programme has collated some key information below for HIV+ staff navigating working with HIV.

Disclosing your HIV status

Staff are not required to disclose their HIV status to their line manager or anyone else at the University, though doing so can facilitate additional support and reasonable adjustments at work. Should a member of staff wish to disclose their HIV status, they can contact their line manager and/or HR business partner. If relevant, HR business partners can offer advice and support in terms of disclosing HIV status to line managers and/or colleagues.

The disability diversity monitoring question for staff (which you can answer during your induction/set-up as a new staff member, or via your profile in Success Factors at any point) includes the option to disclose that you have “A long standing illness or health condition such as cancer, HIV, diabetes, chronic heart disease, or epilepsy”. You can find out about the work this data informs here.

Time off for medical appointments

Reasonable time off with pay will be allowed for medical appointments, and such appointments will not be counted as sickness absence. Your manager may ask to see evidence of the appointment(s); if you do not wish to disclose your HIV status to your manager, you can contact your HR business partner to review your evidence.

Staff are expected to schedule routine appointments before or after the working day where possible. Where this is not possible, it is expected that appointments will be arranged to minimise disruption to their work (at the beginning or end of the normal working day), with reasonable notice being provided to line managers. The University acknowledges that some health conditions (including HIV) require on-going treatment and time off from work to attend medical appointments, which will be accommodated wherever possible.

It is accepted that employees may not have any control over some appointment times, for example for hospital/consultant appointments. However, employees should discuss their need to attend medical appointments with their line manager (or HR business partner) as early as possible.

Employees will not normally be required to make up the time taken for routine medical appointments/treatment.

See section 7 of the University's sickness management policy for full details.

Reasonable adjustments at work

Anyone diagnosed with HIV is protected under the characteristic of disability, under the Equality Act 2010, regardless of their health status. That means protection against harassment and discrimination, as well as the right to request reasonable adjustments to support them at work.

The My Adjustment Passport (MAP) is a tool that supports staff to have meaningful, confidential conversations with their line manager (or other University representative) relating to their HIV status or disability and workplace adjustments to support them in their role. Your MAP is owned by you, you decide who it is shared with, and it can move with you if you change roles at the University.

HIV+ staff may experience some related physical and mental health symptoms, including side effects of medication which can include tiredness/fatigue, nausea, sleep disturbance and diarrhoea, and thus benefit from reasonable adjustments at work. Common reasonable adjustments include changes to/flexibility in working hours and home-working, as well as flexibility with breaks. Should HIV+ staff require access to secure chilled or unchilled storage for medication, this should be discussed with their HR business partner.

Experiences of hate, harassment and discrimination

Everyone at the University of Warwick, whether studying, working, or visiting, has the right to feel safe. The Report & Support team offers advice and support to staff in relation to experiences of hate, harassment, bullying, discrimination, sexual misconduct and other forms of violence and abuse. This includes experiences motivated by someone's HIV status (actual or perceived).

Staff can report hate, harassment or discrimination by contacting Report + Support, though support is not conditional on choosing to make a report and a formal report will not be triggered automatically. There is the option to report anonymously, or to speak to an adviser.

Travelling for work

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) offers detailed guidance on travelling with HIV. Your line manager, HR business partner, and the Social Inclusion team can support you to complete a bespoke Risk Assessment associated with any travel you may undertake in your University role.

Under the University's travel insurance, pre-existing conditions (including HIV) are covered for emergency medical treatment but not routine treatment. This is subject to the traveller not being advised against travelling by their GP/clinician. Being HIV+ does not result in any insurance exceptions, and you are not required to disclose your HIV status.

Support for HIV+ staff

All University staff also have access to the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), a confidential support service designed to support employees dealing with personal and professional issues that may be affecting their home or work life, health and general wellbeing. The University's EAP service is delivered by Health Assured, offering advice and guidance 24/7, including counselling, debt advice, and bereavement support.

The programme is keen to support the creation of an HIV+ Staff Network. If you are interested in becoming a founding member of such a network, please contact the programme lead, Sam Parr.

The Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) offer an excellent range of support services for HIV+ people in the UK, including groups, counselling, and a helpline.

HIV+ staff can also contact their line manager, head of department, HR business partner, and/or Claire Algar from the Social Inclusion team for support at work.

Find out more via our Living Positively project.