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Friday, March 11, 2011

Hepatitis B Discrimination? Not Anymore

Scenario: A job applicant who is asymptomatic had laboratory testing by virtue of an employment requirement  and found out for the first time that he is HBsAg-positive. Without appropriate medical evaluation and counseling, because of the positive result, he was declared unfit to work. Poor applicant! He is otherwise healthy but because of being HBs Ag(+), his dreams came down crashing.

These days, the above applicant in the Philippines need not fear.


He is protected from this kind of discrimination since the Department of Labor and Employment of the Philippines has issued Department Advisory No. 5 Series of 2010 which is known as the Guidelines for the Implementation of a Workplace Policy and Program on Hepatitis B.

This guideline applies to all workplace in the private sector including their supply chain.

With this guideline:

  • "Personal Protective equipment shall be made available for all workers in high risk occupations at all times."
  • "For those occupations with a conceivable risk of Hepatitis B transmission in the workplace...Hepatitis B vaccination is required."
  • "Individuals found to be Hepatitis B positive shall not be declared unfit to work without appropriate medical evaluation and counselling."
  • "Workers shall not be terminated on the basis of the actual, perceived or suspected Hepatitis B status."
  • "Workers shall not be discriminated against, from pre to post-employment, including hiring, promotion or assignment, because of their Hepatitis B status."
  • "Job applicants and workers shall not be compelled to disclose their Hepatitis B status and other related medical information."
These are just parts of the said department advisory and this is in response to people who may have misconceptions as to how Hepatitis B is really transmitted.

HBV or the Hepatitis B virus is NOT spread through food or water, sharing eating utensils, kissing, hugging, holding hands, sneezing or coughing.

One might be surprised nowadays that even some healthworkers have these misconceptions. Well, it is clear then. There is this department advisory and workers should be aware of this to protect themselves from possible Hepatitis B discrimination. Doctors too should be aware of this to educate their patients who are applicants.



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30 comments:

  1. There is a deep-rooted bias against hepatitis B virus carriers. Many people still believe that it is not safe to work with colleagues who carry such a virus.



    buy and sell philippines

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  2. i was a carrier of hepa b. my husband and my two daughter are free from this disease.and i thank God for this...it is really hard to have this kind of illness because you were discriminated from your work and most companies doesn't hire people who is positive in hepa b...why? i feel so frustrated that until now i don't have work. i am now afraid to pursue all my application...i ask God why? i want to ask people why they don't want to hire me? since hindi naman daw ito nakakahawa...bakit kinakatakutan ang ganitong sakit? how can i live a normal life, how can we survie if i don't have work.... please help me....

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  3. I am sad to read about your experience. As you can read from the Dept. of Labor and Employment (DOLE) website http://www.dole.gov.ph/secondpage.php?id=1686, there shall be no discrimination on workers based on their Hepatitis B status if they are declared fit to work by the physician. I think you may approach or contact DOLE through the Occupational Safety and Health Center at telephone number 927-0926 regarding your case.

    ReplyDelete
  4. my hepaB ako. i have the skills, or should i say 'what it takes' to be a call center agent. problem? yes, i am hepaB infected. now guess what, the only thing that i can do for a living right now is beeing a jeepney driver because nobody accepts me. i cant pass that damn medical test. its not fair! i am crying while writing this because its not fair, really..

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  5. I hope the Department of Labor will realize that despite new guidelines, this situation pala is still prevailing. Please stay positive.

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  6. i am a hepa B carrier.. And I had that experience wherein they told me that I got hired already, i passed all the interviews and exams (i even resigned at my current work during that time) only to find out later on that i failed the medical exam because of my sickness. I was devastated. I got hired at a local company now. I think i got hired because di kasama yun sa test nila. But now, I am planning to apply to a bigger company, but i fear that I might experience the same scenario. I really want that job but I'm really scared to be rejected again.

    ReplyDelete
  7. It's sad to know that there are still stories such as yours. I think this is due to lack of awareness of employers about the transmission of hepatitis B. How about trying to contact DOLE and tell them about your concern so they will be aware that this problem persists. Their contact page is http://www.dole.gov.ph/contact/index.php

    ReplyDelete
  8. Im graduating student, and im afraid to apply for job coz i might be rejected especially in hotels/cruise/abroad. Im just 20, but im very depressed. Im worry for my future, especially on my dreams. Im smart enough, and qualified to get a job. But because of this situation seems like I dont deserve to live with other people which is not infected. Everyday im crying because it feels like Hepa B carrier are epidemic. :'(

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  9. Mr./Ms. Graduating Student:

    With your hard work, I am sure God will find a way. Do not lose hope. Do not let fear stop you from fulfilling your dreams.If you visualize as early as now that you will be rejected then the battle will be lost even if it has not yet started. Education efforts about Hep B is increasing worldwide so hopefully discrimination will be put into a stop. Do not stop believing in yourself and what you can accomplish no matter what happens.

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  10. I am Hep b positive. I am currently taking my undergrad and I plan on taking medicine despite my condition. WHat's the likelihood that I won't be accepted in med school? Should I still pursue medicine even with my condition? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. call me pls...09164265108 im 3rd yr med student now...i have same issue as u

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    2. me too hav the same cndition. im planning to enroll in med. school ths coming june..im doubtful if there are med. schools that wil accept me..contact me pls if u hav info regarding our concern..09487981248. .Thnx

      Delete
  11. Generally, medical schools require that their students have Hepatitis B vaccinations.

    Since you are Hep B positive, have yourself treated by a doctor or an infectious disease specialist for your health's sake and to ensure also that you will not be infectious by the time you will go to medical school.

    Your case is different from those who are just working in offices. There will come a point in medical school where you will not just stay in the classroom. For example, you will be doing IV insertion and other activities involving blood/blood products/invasive procedures that will increase the risk or likelihood of you transmitting the disease to others.

    Unlike other professions, you may be handling blood and blood products for example so it is important that you are not infectious, and that you have developed antibodies against the virus.

    You must be cleared by your infectious disease specialist first to protect yourself from complications and to protect others from acquiring the disease.

    ReplyDelete
  12. so sad to hear that so many people have same situation like me. I dont know why employers did not accept applicants wit Hep B even the job is such an office staff, call center etc. That cannot affect other peple by transmitting it. Even your strong,smart.engergetc and thats healthy enough to do work you will not be accepted because you are a hep b carries. Damn!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True. I feel for you. I hope discrimination based on this will disappear.

      Delete
  13. Good Day!

    I'm so happy that you created this blog. I am also one of the people with Hepatitis B and couldn't get abroad because they say I am unfit to work.

    I just graduated this march , and with luck I got a work abroad. Going abroad takes a lot of expenses but I pursued it because it has higher pay. All my requirements were ready except for my medical and to my shock I am infected with Hepa B. The doctor from the medical clinic said I am unfit and Hepatitis B will stay in my blood forever. I lose all hope, but my uncle who had also Hepa B recommended a doctor that helped him to totally drain this infection in his blood and also I am browsing the net for answers how to find cure for this and to find the right doctor. Now I am taking Essentiale forte (vitamins for the liver) for 6 months, that's what doctor said, and I am hoping that this will be gone in 6 months. But as of now I'm afraid that this might stay, is there any Hepatitis B specialist here in Cebu?

    It would not hurt to hear other doctors opinion. I started drinking essentiale this June and if I am right I will be cured this december. I will stay positive and with the Lord as my friend I know I will win this battle.

    As my friend said to me,God has better plan for us. I knew He has. To all, God Bless! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's good that you have a positive attitude. There are many Hep B specialists in Cebu. It will be inappropriate for me to point a specific specialist. You may choose from the many gastroenterologists or infectious disease specialists in the directories of local hospitals here. Supplements like Essentiale may not be enough. See a specialist. Blood tests may be ordered and other drugs such as antivirals may be given.

      Delete
  14. I am Hepatitis B carrier for 20 years, no signs and symptoms were noted;
    1. Is there a possibility for us to work abroad or I am eligible to apply as an immigrant in Canada?
    2. Do you have available medication to cure the Hepatitis B?
    3. My wife was working abroad, I want to stay with her, please advise me of kind of visa do I applied for not requiring Hepatitis B test.
    Please reply. Thank you very much and God bless you.....

    ReplyDelete
  15. 1. I have no personal experience on this but based on what I read at the net, using keywords "immigration canada hepatitis b", it depends on many factors. There may or there may not be a chance. One forum I read is this http://www.canadavisa.com/canada-immigration-discussion-board/hepatitis-b-cannot-stop-immigration-from-giving-you-permanent-residence-t76033.0.html
    2. There is no medication yet that can cure hepatitis. But in most cases, hepatitis B resolves by itself within a month or two. A good number recover completely.
    However, a few will be "carriers" and have chronic infection with HBV. These carriers remain contagious the rest of their lives. The new drugs can help slow the progression of liver disease in these patients. With advances in medicine, we are optimistic that a complete cure will be found for chronic hepatitis B in the near future.
    3. I honestly don't know about what kind of visa can be applied for but maybe you may find useful information in some websites. Hope I was able to help you. Wishing the best for you and your family.

    ReplyDelete
  16. sa goverment sector po ba sakop din ng batas na ito?

    ReplyDelete
  17. supposedly sa lahat sa pagkakaalam ko. lalo na kung government sector.

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  18. im also carrier of hepa b..sna may DOCTOR na mag voice tungkol s klgayan namin.sa DCtor n nanggaling na hndi tayo nkkhawa by touching.ang hirap na tanggalan kami ng karapatan mag work dahil sa virus na to..wala na ngang gamot sa sakit namin aalisan pa kami ng karapatan mag trabaho.sna naman pyagan ng mga doctor na mag work ang mga carrier gaya ko sa mga machine related job.dahil wlang treat sa iba yun..

    ReplyDelete
  19. Im a food handler working as cook.i..cruisehip i.just found out in my next medical that im postive of hepa b and active chronic stage na..i got vaccine before and how come.i.got.this virus..now im depressed no more job and no other skills except in cooking..which most of the people and company dont accept with this kind of sickness but i would not say that im sick coz im very much alive and kicking..no symptoms..:(

    ReplyDelete
  20. During acute phase, most people with hepatitis b do not experience symptoms. There is such a thing as non responders. You might be one of them. Read this http://www.hepb.org/professionals/vaccine_non-responders.htm Why not try to re-test your blood for hepatitis B in another laboratory to check? If you do have hepatitis B, see a doctor. But do not lose hope. Hepatitis B is not spread thru contaminated food or water. You should be able to work as a cook still. Read this also for basic hepatitis b info http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs204/en/

    ReplyDelete
  21. this is my result during my examination last feb. 16

    hbsag w/titer 1764.66 reactive
    anti-hbs .00 non reactive
    hbeag 1698.33 reactive
    anti hbe 48.18 non reactive
    anti-hav igm .34 non reactive
    anti hbc 13.34 reactive
    anti hcv .09 non reactive

    note: immunology: specimen checked. results verified AHBe count below the cut-off value is considered reactive

    since the doctor told me there no more cure for this virus i did not bother to get examined..i may be wasting my money for some supplements and i dnt hav job now to sustain my medical needs..so sad..

    ReplyDelete
  22. You have Hepatitis B infection. It seems that your lab results do not tell if you have chronic infection. It is inappropriate for me also to make interpretations online. What I can advise you though is to see an infectious disease specialist. If you have acute infection, you need supportive therapy. If you have chronic infection, you need antiviral treatment and regular monitoring since the disease may progress to liver damage or liver cancer. Perhaps Philhealth benefits can help. Hope you can find a job. God bless you. Do not give up. Like me I also have a medical problem. I am for kidney transplant and I am not rich. But I am not giving up finding ways.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Reactive din po ako.. Gusto ko mag abroad for my family kaso eto ako ngayon..ang hirap isipin kong bakit di nila tanngap ang may hepa..ano po ba solution nito at saan ako pwede makahanap ng work? Salamat po..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kung patakaran sa abroad talaga, mahirap controlin kasi di sakop ng batas natin sila. Isang uri ng trabaho na walang screening para hepatitis ay yung magtrabaho sa internet thru Odesk o Elance at mga kagayang websites. Bisitahin nyo ang mga websites na yan at icheck kung mga trabahong nandoon ay naaangkop sa yo.

      Delete
  24. Poor applicant nga talaga..pano kaya ako mag aabroad..reactive din po ako..ano po ba medicine nito at saan ba pwede mag apply para makatulong na din sa family?? Salamat po

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mas mainam po magpatingin kayo sa doctor (infectious disease specialist o gastroenterologist) para mabigay ang dapat na gamot o management sa kaso mo.

      Gaya ng sinabi ko sa itaas, try nyo po yung mga online jobs. Maraming nagfrefreelance at mas malaki pa kita nila sa mga empleyado.

      Delete

 

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