Do I have to tell a potential employer about HIV in Thailand?
I have been offered a position as a primary school teacher, at a school in Bangkok. I am HIV+ (very recent diagnosis) and I am extremely worried that this will affect my chances of employment now.
I understand that for a visa/work permit the only blood test that is required is for syphilis; however, on my sample contract from my employer it said “you are required to tell us about any health conditions…the contract will only be considered biding after a medical examination to check for contagious diseases”.
I am not sure if this relates to the medical certificate for the visa or if the school also carries out a medical examination with potentially an HIV test. I also did want to disclose my condition to my employer as I will be receiving treatment in the UK.
Thanks for your question that brings up several different issues.
Also, this answer includes general suggestions. i-Base is not a legal or employment organisation, and being based in the UK, we have limited info on Thailand.
In the UK, you still have to give consent for an HIV test. This means you have to specifically agree. Also, if an employer asks for a full medical history, you do not have to disclose HIV if it is not relevant to being able to do the job, or if you think the information might not be kept confidential. This is based on legal advice a few years ago from a lawyer at on of the larger HIV charities.
If Thailand doesn’t need you to test for a work or resident status, then your future employer shouldn’t either. One option is to ask for a list of what the medical tests involve, either directly – or anonymously if this is a large institution. If an HIV test is not involved, then you could just not mention HIV on the form.
Once you are working, you could disclose or not depending on how you felt. Also, you could always say you only found out about HIV after you were employed. Or you could stick with the decision that this information is private and none of your employer’s business.
Sometimes it is better to be pragmatic to get the right outcome you want.
Another option would be to contact an HIV organisation in Thailand for advice.
I hope things work out for you.