The daily tasks you used to do every day at work just got infinitely more dangerous. As an Overlook Medical Center employee, you used to love your contact with patients, talking to coworkers, and going to meetings—but now you feel like any one of these can put you and others at risk. Is it worth it to take time off work after suffering a HIV infection, or is it just a roll of the dice every time you walk in the door?

When Will Social Security Disability Cover a HIV Needlestick Infection?

Many nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers have had to make the hard decision about when do leave work due to increased risk of infection. Not only does your condition make you more susceptible to other infections, any blood draws and transfusions you perform places the patient at risk of infection in the same way you contracted the virus—and those are just the good days. How can you keep taking time off when your condition makes you too ill to work?

The Social Security Administration may grant you disability benefits if you can show that you are significantly limited by your condition. Here are a few common ways that HIV+ health care workers may have trouble doing their jobs on a daily basis:

  • Chronic illness. Symptoms and manifestations of HIV vary from patient to patient. In some cases, patients may be fine for months, but contract a sudden illness that takes weeks to fully recover from. Some employees may have chronic conditions—such as a sudden fever—that can result in frequent time off work or sudden trips to the emergency room. Even persistent non-life-threatening problems such as fatigue, joint pain, malaise, or insomnia can affect an employee’s ability to do her work effectively.
  • Side effects. While many HIV+ patients respond well to antiretroviral treatment, these drugs can cause a number of side effects that make it difficult for you to perform your regular work. Physical side effects include stomach problems such as nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea, while mental effects include lapses in concentration and mood swings.
  • Daily interactions. A HIV infection can cause limitations due to pain or fatigue. If your coworkers are aware of your condition, you may face an altered perception of you in your peers, causing you undue anxiety and stress in the workplace.

Worried about paying your bills after your workers’ compensation runs out? Apply for Social Security disability as soon as possible in order to stay ahead of your medical bills! To find out how to get your HIV disability application approved on the first try, click the contact link on this page and tell us about your injury. We can tell you which steps to take next, and we charge nothing unless we win your case.

Manfred Ricciardelli
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Morristown Workers' Compensation Lawyer