This section of the Employment and Living with HIV/AIDS Toolkit provides information to assist people living with HIV/AIDS as well as those who support them with important information to take into account when considering seeking or changing employment. After reading it, people living with HIV/AIDS may also want to read the Employment and Living with HIV/AIDS Resource Guide, which provides answers to frequently asked questions about HIV/AIDS and employment related to legal rights and protections, job-seeking resources and strategies, and financial impacts and tax incentives.

Four intersecting circles represent key factors for people living with HIV/AIDS considering work: medical, legal/financial, psychosocial, and vocational factors. A fifth circle in the center that overlaps the other four is labeled Considering work. Its overlap implies that person living with HIV/AIDS who is considering work needs to consider all four of these factors at each stage.

People living with HIV/AIDS who are considering seeking or changing their employment may be at one of four stages:*

  • Contemplation is considering making life changes to enter or change employment
  • Preparation is setting an employment goal and making a plan to achieve it
  • Action is implementing the plan to achieve the employment goal
  • Resolution is adjusting to a new job or other non-job-related life change

Of course, individuals may move among these stages as new information emerges or life circumstances change. But whatever stage they are in, there are decisions to make and strategies to consider. Specifically, within each stage of considering work, there are four key factors to explore: medical, legal/financial, psychosocial, and vocational.

In each stage, people living with HIV/AIDS should evaluate their individual strengths and potential barriers within each of these four factors. Doing so will help them make well-informed decisions about work and develop effective strategies for seeking or changing their employment.

Select a stage to learn more:

* Goldblum, P., and Kohlenberg, B. (2005) Vocational counseling for people with HIV: The client-focused considering work model. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 22, 115-124.