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UK: Equalities minister writes to Iain Duncan Smith after HIV positive man left feeling ‘ashamed’ at job centre

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  1. Liam the God 20 Feb 2013, 11:25am

    Tory Minister writes to Tory Secretary of State…. Am I alone in thinking IBS will simply tell her “Shut up, girly, I’m more important than you are!”? Or am I just being cynical?

    1. Jock S. Trap 20 Feb 2013, 12:24pm

      Actually I would expect he would be forced to take notice. He can’t say people should work, take away employee right and then see how difficult it is for some via discrimination from clearly uneducated people.

      1. Liam the God 20 Feb 2013, 1:15pm

        So I’m being cynical. Okay, I can live with that :)

    2. MARGATE conservatives have let a councillor who called an LGBT councillor to say “I hope you get aids” to re-join their council group despite the fact that he has refused to apologise to the victim.
      Margate Conservatives are making the victim’s (an LGBT councillor) life hell and nobody seems to give a flying f

      1. I would expect nothing less from Margate Conservatives. They are only trying to be like their homophobic MP Roger Gale. I lived there for many years, before leaving twenty years ago. It really is the ass end of England. The council are at least 30 years behind the rest of the country. Any self respecting gay person should leave, as things will never change. And you can’t polish a turd.

  2. What a brave guy talking about this. Disgusting treatment he has had.

    1. whatdoiknow 20 Feb 2013, 1:21pm

      I agree with the stance of confidentially, if the intention here was not to disclose his HIV, both the BBC and Pink News have done a very good job of disclosing to a much wider audience and removed the controls of his HIV status. Given that a picture and name is posted on a higher audience than the local earshot of the jobcentre workers…….is this the correct position?

      On the point of the JC advisor refering to a disbality adviser, was a correct course of action, if HIV is accepted as a disbaility, this would have been better to support his needs?

      40% of those living with HIV are in receipt of benefits.

      1. He had already posted about it on his blog. it’s not like PN are for the first time giving this news a wider audience than the few people present at the employment office.

        1. whatdoiknow 20 Feb 2013, 2:21pm

          As neither the BBC or PN had referred to the orginial blog, was a concern that he might have been earged in by the sector to further promote this and further losing control and further consideration of disclosure of being HIV+ to a much wider audience.

          Now instead of a closed arena his wider local community maybe aware for which the guy will have to deal with?

          At the very least the BBC and PN didn’t have to use a picture, were these options discussed?

          1. Perhaps he decided that having his status more widely known publicly was a price worth paying in order to bring the unjust treatment he faced to light. He did, after all, give an interview to the BBC.

        2. There are many, many more people present in Job Centre offices, than just a few, as you quote.

      2. whatdoiknow 20 Feb 2013, 7:33pm

        Seems like its in the trash along with your comment!

  3. But why did he feel the necessity to disclose his status in the first place? Unless for some reason it is absolutely necessary, do like I did – say nothing and all is well ,,,,

    1. casparthegood 20 Feb 2013, 12:50pm

      You are ALWAYS asked for the reason for leaving your last employer and for benefit purposes the employer is always asked as well -thats when the fun starts if both versions don’t match up

      1. casparthegood 20 Feb 2013, 5:47pm

        forgot to add that this does not excuse the guys treatment.He should lodge a formal complaint with the manager and folllow it up in any way possible

    2. He was told he HAD to declare his status! You can read his blog from the link on the main article.

  4. What an absolute disgrace….are they still living in the ignorant 80s and think you can get HIV by just breathing the same air????….I doubt anybody will get sacked so the staff should get educated….he was right to complain and Helen Grant is right to tell IDS about this….will anything happen? I dont think so….a slap on the wrist and told not to do it again….pathetic

    1. Jock S. Trap 20 Feb 2013, 12:26pm

      I would hope a full apology for starters, disciplining the member of staff and a complete re-education for those worker….

      Though yep, I don’t he’ll get.

  5. Why did he had to disclose his HIV status ? I’m a bit confused unless the job involves bareback sex or blood transfusions ! Maybe was a job to be a porn star ?

    1. It was the reason he lost his former job.

  6. Unless this salon is some kind of medieval barber-surgeon’s outfit, where they do impromptu blood transfusions from the staff as often as cutting people’s hair, there’s absolutely no risk at all.

    I certainly wouldn’t object to someone as cute as Jayce running his fingers through my hair!

    1. Suddenly Last Bummer 20 Feb 2013, 12:22pm

      Running his fingers thru’ your hair but nothing further considering his health status? I’m saddened that someone as young as he is has a disease for life.

      1. I’m not sure how much further you tend to go when you get a haircut, but I was rather under the impression that such is the usual level of personal intimacy involved in the procedure..

  7. Jock S. Trap 20 Feb 2013, 12:23pm

    Absolutely shameful.

    No way should be made to disclose to anyone at the Job Centre let alone publically,

    Surely he has the right to sue not only the Job Centre but also his previous employer too for unfair dismissal.

    It’s no good making those who can work suffer when trying to get and keep employment. It’s unfair and unjust.

    I am Disgusted by this and what this man gone through!!

  8. It is so depressing that people still think like this. It reminds me of the 1980s when I innocently told a colleague that a friend with AIDS was staying with me and she asked me if I wasn’t frightened to share crockery and cutlery with him.

    1. And when I was a teacher there came an AIDS specialist into the school to talk to educate the staff. He must have repeated three or four times that you can’t catch HIV from sharing crockery and cutlery, even from drinking from the very same cup of coffee or tea or whatever as that from which an HIV+ person is drinking. But after it was over and we all went back into the staff-room to have coffee, I saw everybody (the other teachers were all heterosexual and I was the only homosexual teacher) reach out to grab their own personal cups from the shelf as if it were a matter of life or death whether they got their hands on their own mug! After that I noticed some of the teachers taking their cups back to their classrooms, rather than leave them in the staff-room for possible use by the homosexual teacher!

  9. Chester666666 20 Feb 2013, 12:34pm

    My first encounter with this man, Greg, was when i had to go over my ‘job seekers agreement’. He went through my form, and asked about my medical history, i explained that I had one, and that it didn’t impede me looking for work, so it was irrelevant!
    From his Blog:

    There’s more and it’s terrible that he had to experience this, the jobcentre is too often useless with no people skills

  10. Chester666666 20 Feb 2013, 12:35pm

    Check his blog for why he revealed it and how stupid and useless some jobcentre people are, it’s a terrible experience for him

  11. Helen Beyene Ghebremehari 20 Feb 2013, 12:56pm

    First of all Well Done for talking about it…As for the ignorant jobcentre person, he/she should be made to write an apology letter clearly explaining why she said the things she had said to you, and then she should be made to read it out loud to you in front of her colleagues & ur fellow job seekers…

  12. Hi everyone. Thank you all for your support.

    Just to say, I never wanted to disclose my status, I was however told I had to declare if I had a medical condition that had treatment lasting over 26 weeks.

    When I said I was unwilling to disclose what it was, I was forced to reveal it as it may have stopped my claim, if the ‘decision maker’ was unhappy about it.

    I was told the following week by a different member of staff, that this was not the case, but told me I had to see a disability advisor…the person being the first person I saw.

    I don’t want to enter a legal battle, I simply want to make sure that this NEVER happens again, the consequences could have been much worse with someone that hasn’t coped maybe as well as I have done.

    I am very grateful for everyone’s continued support, and that finally, the issue of stigma surrounding HIV has got the attention it needs to bring a change x

    1. Jayce, it is an honour to have you on our team. Very brave of your to speak out.

    2. Hi Jayce – call the THT Helpline (Freephone) and ask them about your situation – no one should have to Disclose their HIV Status in any situation (other than sex) – they can make a referral for you to clarify your legal rights – it’s the last frontline service they have – I used to work there – I can vouch for all the staff and volunteers.

    3. Posted a comment on your blog. You are an inspiration and your courage and fortitude set an example, that I hope you will not mind me sharing with others through my organisation Tcell ( Thank you for not letting this pass unchallenged.

    4. Hi Jayce, I greatly admire your strength of character for standing tall and speaking out about the prejudice and injustice you received.

      Perhaps the most disturbing thing you mentioned is you were referred back to the “Disability adviser” who was the person to cause you embarrassment in the first case. Perhaps when Helen Grant communicates with Iain Duncan Smith, she should also recommend the worked reassigned or retrained. Far in excess of the persons demeanor, there is the potential risk factor of this employee to appropriately address the well being of the “Disabled” job candidate during the interview process.

      Best wishes for your future!

    5. Jayce – I admire your bravery and wish you well. Nobody should ever be FORCED to declare their status. However, some of us CHOOSE to do so that we can combat the mythology and ignorance that still surrounds the condition. I hope that, now your status is public knowledge, you will use the power that that gives you, to do likewise.

    6. Bill Cameron 20 Feb 2013, 4:59pm

      I just read both your blogs about this and admire your courage; good luck for the future. It is certainly dreadful the way you have been treated, but I hope your MP’s letter will have the effect your want – that this kind of thing can never happen again.

    7. Councillor John Worrow 20 Feb 2013, 10:30pm

      I have a lot of respect for you Jayce, you are a brave man. You have allies!

      1. postopgirl 22 Feb 2013, 9:32am

        Hi Jayce, that Job Centre staff member should be reprimanded, have a re-training session on diversity, your HIV status should have been kept confidential, its got nothing to do with anyone that you personally do not wish to know about, its not something that can be whipped around like cheap gossip. I have been abused in the past by a Job Centre security staff member, he was reprimanded, it led to others who made comments and they were reprimanded too, Job Centres are supposed to be safe places, they are anything but, I hope you find peace,.

    8. I wish you well, Jayce and the peaceful life you so richly deserve. You are to be admired for your bravery in speaking out. Thank you.

    9. Well done mister. I’m amazed at some of the bitchiness you’ve encountered here. Or am I? Not sure anymore. You’re clearly a great example to other young men who are HIV+. In fact, you’re just a good example all round. Stay strong.

  13. Robert (Kettering) 20 Feb 2013, 1:12pm

    Poor guy, this is simply unacceptable in 2013. I only hope he gets a full apology from the DWP though I won’t be holding my breath.

    As an aside, I recently took the THT HIV home test that was highlighted on PN and got my negative result on Friday to great relief. I would urge everyone to take the test which is free, confidential and better than going to the local clinic. Thank you THT.

  14. Wait did he go around giving random blood transfusions and/or share hypodermic needles with every person he came into contact with while he was at the job centre? Because if not, I fail to I see why every person would need to know his HIV status, you don’t get it from waving or shaking hands.

  15. Jim middle tn 20 Feb 2013, 3:47pm

    way to go .. Jayce Carberry ..have found if you dont stand up for yourself .. you get walked on …..and he worked in a salon . I wonder if it was the customers or the “friend”(and I use that term loosely) who objected to him and sharp objects ..
    in 2012 there are still dumb ass people taking up space here on earth
    I do hope that Jayce does well and finds just the job that will suit his talents and be a welcoming workplace

  16. Poor kid :(

  17. Brett Gibson 20 Feb 2013, 4:05pm

    What an absolutely appalling incident. I don’t understand how people think they can contract HIV in any other way other than through open wounds or soars or sexual contact. I don’t understand why people are like this. I would have no problem whatsoever with an HIV + person working in my salon or dentists or doctors or restaurant or ANYWHERE. The people who work for the government at the Job Centre should be ashamed of themselves.

    1. As someone working in the public sector, I’m well aware of the huge reforms local authorities are making to encourage more people to find work. It’s even more sickening then that Jobcentre staff should be so ignorant and stupid to make these descriminating, thoughtless comments. I think re-training is urgently needed to further their understanding and prevent this in the future. My thoughts are with you, Jayce.

  18. what year is this ? 1984 …… no pun intended

  19. I Jayce can get a job with a decent company, they will have a good works doctor. I suggest on the advice I was given 10 years ago he should not reveal his status until he fills out their health form which would only be seen by the doctor.
    Then Jayce would get advice from the doctor regarding his status.

  20. Nick Davis 20 Feb 2013, 8:07pm

    Keep it up Jayce, a lot of people are proud of you, you should be proud of yourself. Best wishes for the future.

  21. The situation that brought this about is disgusting in this day and age. That anybody can be that ignorant of the facts surrounding HIV status and how to handle it is beyond comprehension. I should know. I lived the last 8 years of a 17 year relationship with my partner whilst he was HIV+ and that was 20 years ago. I am still HIV-.

  22. Childofdisabledmother 21 Feb 2013, 4:46am

    It’s Iain Duncan Smith prepared to be shocked (if you’re new to a Neanderthal inbred scumbag like him)

  23. The Job Centre staff should be sacked. Most of them act like the gistapo. Disgusting places that are encouraged to treat decent people like dirt.

  24. Spanner1960 21 Feb 2013, 9:09am

    I get the feeling the whole story has not been reported here.

    “The Department for Work and Pensions said people did not officially have to declare medical conditions when applying for Jobseeker’s Allowance.”

    Yet Jayce Carberry said he was told he had to see a disability adviser.

    These two facts don’t add up. If he was claiming disability allowance, then I would imagine he would have to state his medical condition, but I don’t see why that should be discussed with some JobCentre grunt across a desk in earshot of the public.

    1. He is / was making a claim for JSA not Employment & Support Allowance (which is for individuals who are unable to work due to illness), there is a big difference in these two benefits. Disability Living Allowance is managed by the Disability & Carers Service not via Job Centre Plus, so I am unclear why you are suggesting the two facts don’t add up?

      HIV is considered to be a disabling condition upon diagnosis (Equalities ACT) & therefore JSA staff would have been correct to have asked if Jayce would like to see a disability adviser, but they should not have insisted. Having had plenty of experience of the Department of Work & Pensions as a client advocate this situation does not surprise me at all. Many DWP staff treat claimants very badly, & in my experience some go out of their way to make life difficult with their “jobsworth” attitudes.

      I have often been given incorrect information by DWP staff; I believe many are badly trained, they lack empathy & are often rude for no reason.

  25. When dealing with the job centre it is sometimes important that they realise that your unemployment situation is not of your making.
    What happened brings in a raft of questions that should be addressed, for example if a woman was raped and as a consequence had been so traumatised would it be appropriate for the civil servant interviewing her about her unemployment to ask her to discuss such a personal matter in a room full of other job seekers?
    I think that as soon as an applicant mentions there is an issue around there medical history or anything else that is of a sensitive nature the very basic act of moving to a more more private area is affording the minimum standard of respect for privacy.
    I take my hat off to Jayce, by not allowing himself to be another victim perhaps this sort of treatment may not happen in the future.

  26. Its shocking what we have to suffer, I had my benefits suspended for nearly six weeks & my housing benefit also suspended because my support worker asked for decision to be looked at, im now waiting tribunal, my health gone down hill & feel so ill, I contacted & met my MP, Told by woman at local Disability group ‘oh there are many more in same boat as me’ Are there no Laws? Do we just have to suffer? seems every route i try to take im hit with brick wall, Im also diabetic & on insulin.

    1. Well maybe you should get a job instead of sponging off the government, being diabetic and/or having HIV doesn’t stop you from getting some kind of work/job. Stop complaining that your free meal ticket to life has been suspended and think about the hard working people who are paying for your life through their taxes.

      1. Typical ‘I’m all right jack stuff you’ reply. Have you any idea what it is like for genuinely disabled and sick people to live on the pittance handed out. And when you go for a medical assessment they see you for maybe half an hour and Oooh! They know earthing about you and how you’re illness or disability affects your day to day living…..not! Then you are told you’re fit for work and you feel distressed and ashamed and they make you feel like a parasite on the state. Soooo, you sign on for JSA (as they hoped you would) and the whole wretched thing starts again. Believe me, I know. I do not live in the lap of luxury, I sometimes have to choose between food or heating. It’s not the way I and many others choose to live believe me. ‘Free meal ticket’ you say? it costs very dearly, not in money but in self-esteem and how others make you feel. So, get on with your smug, holier-than-thou life and STFU.

  27. What job centre was this at?

  28. GreggJacobs32 21 Feb 2013, 2:57pm

    maybe he was asked why he left or was sacked from his previous job. Also if he was found similar work and his employer wasnt aware of his status if it came out in future problems could arise again leading to more distress for him. Im hiv negative but when iv applied for jobs part of the form has stated medical conditions and examples one of which is HIV. If i was positive and didnt put my status down if it came to light i was positive in future my job could be at risk. The more people are open and honest the sooner the stigma attached will fade

    1. No, your job would not be at risk. Unless you are part of a very tiny, ever dwindling minority. To treat you differently because of your HIV status would contradict the employment and disabilities act.

  29. Good to see the usual group of barrack room lawyers talking rubbish.

    If he disclosed his status, he did so voluntarily. As he is classed under the equality act as disabled, certain staff such as Disability Employment Adviser would be told as a matter of course. If the chap objected, it’s conceivable that DWP staff would consider investigating the law. Training is not very good on data protection and still less good on disability.

    That’s it. If offence was taken, it relies on the eternal divergence between what Person A hears and what Person B actually says. It’s not an equalities matter, and even if an adviser knew nothing about HIV bar the scare stories, why are you all attacking this poor sod and not the weight of misinformation in the media and the pisspoor training so-called experts in the labour market actually get.

  30. Im sorry but I dont believe at his story. Have you actually read his blog? He’s an escort, went to prison, drugs addict. He’s an attention seeker.

    1. I’m a former prostitute and drug addict. I am an intelligent and kind person who caved into these “deviences” because of necessity, desperation and depression. Please don’t judge people for making ill-informed decisions in times of desperation.

  31. I dont believe it, I think the guy is an attention seeker. If u read his blog is full of drama, from being an escort, to prison etc….I’d take his story with a pinch of salt

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