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Aaron McNerlin

"When I was working at FirstSource Ltd, under a Sky contract. I found out I had HIV. I remember this day very clearly as a lot has changed"

My story

It was 26/11/2019 and I was on my lunch break when my phone started to ring. It was my GP who asked me if I remember what the blood tests were for (I had a couple swollen glands on the back of my neck that wouldn't settle down after months), I listed a few of the conditions and she said one of them came back positive. My gut sank.

She didn't want to say over the phone but me being me, I wanted to know there and then. She told me details of a lady who I can see that afternoon, which I needed repeated a few times as I kept forgetting in the whirlwind of emotions. One of my work colleagues walked by and asked if I was okay and I shook my head. He went on in to let my boss know I'll be a little late from lunch. I went to the bathroom to gather myself and dry the eyes, before walking back onto the call centre floor of about 80 people.

Soon as I stepped onto the floor, I could feel the tears coming again so I beelined for my team leader who could see that I was upset. We went to a private part of the floor and I explained to him that I need to go to the hospital, that I have HIV and need the afternoon off. He was very sympathetic and said the usual 'sorry to hear that' and he said not to worry about work, to head on to the hospital and he'll sort out the rota for me. When I was next in the team leader kept checking up on me, saying that he doesn't mind if I need more time off. He made sure I got a couple hours every week or two to see my social worker during work hours.

Overall he was very very supportive. I even told the colleagues on my team who said that if I need anything, to let them know. They didn't change at all on how they viewed me and still interacted with me the same. The lot of them did ask now and again how the hospital appointments were going and when I would start on my medication etc.


So I really couldn't fault the way my team and the team leader handled my diagnosis.

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