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Author Topic: Looks like it is over for me  (Read 5908 times)

fishman

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Looks like it is over for me
« on: October 23, 2014, 08:51:40 AM »
Just got an email saying they are withdrawing my application, because the medical team at the country that they were going to invite me to cannot accommodate my medical needs. I am a man living with HIV and I am assuming that's why the medical team denied me. For what it is worth, I am in the best shape of my life. I ran races, bike to work every day etc... I find that decision to be ignorant knowing what we know today about HIV and how people live with it without any problem. However, this is not my call.

When I first considered the peace-corps, I was encouraged to apply and was told that HIV would not be an issue. I sort of feel misled, but the whole extensive application process has been a journey in itself. The same email said I can appeal or apply again. The applying again part makes no sense to me. What would change if I apply again? Anyways, if anyone knows any alternatives to be of service other than the peace corps, please let me know. Good luck to everyone

Thanks

karyn

  • Guest
Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2014, 09:06:57 PM »
I am so sorry!
I would follow up with Peace Corps Washington.  The squeaky wheels often get their way.

When I was in Peace Corps (98-00), there was a man there that was an alcoholic that was able to stay sober via AA.  It had taken, I believe, 7 years for him to get his application approved, but he made it to West Africa! (I'm not sure if it was 7 years, or 7 rounds of applications, but it was a long time).  They sent him to my country because there was an AA organization in the capital.

Please note, I am NOT in any way equating HIV & alcoholism.  However, they are both medical reasons to not accept an applicant.

I'd recommend calling, calling, and calling again.
Take notes of all your correspondence.

Best of luck!

Offline koji

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Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2014, 01:44:35 AM »
It is sad that you would be rejected for that reason, and I would definitely consider appealing the decision.

As far as alternatives- I did AmeriCorps VISTA, which is in many ways the domestic version of Peace Corps. True, there is not the fun of a foreign country, but they have many different types of projects that you could serve with. It is an 11 month commitment in impoverished areas of the US.

Good luck!

Offline tdefayette

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  • Posts: 2
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Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2014, 06:31:32 AM »
I encourage you not to give up. Instead, use this to become even more determined to serve.  Your efforts can help others follow you. It will improve their confidence and encourage them. Being a leader can be lonely, but you have been given an opportunity. I truly believe that the Peace Corps wants to ensure your safety and good health while you are a volunteer. The Peace Corps believes in equal opportunity and strives to deploy Americans to over 60 countries who reflect the fabric of America. Above all the Peace Corps must ensure you are healthy and must be able to meet your needs and the needs of others during your service.
Please appeal. Please reapply. Make it your quest in life to serve. If you have the passion to serve, that alone will push you ahead through this process. Go for it!

karyn

  • Guest
Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2014, 09:14:43 AM »
I was thinking of this some more last night.
When you communicate with Washington, one question that could be good to ask is WHICH countries would you be allowed to go to w/ your HIV status?  When I applied, you could not choose your country or region.  Maybe the country you asked for really doesn't have the resources?
Also, maybe use email as your medium.  This might be something a lawyer could take on if there was a good paper trail.

Whatever you decide, best of luck!!

fishman

  • Guest
Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2014, 10:46:50 AM »
Thanks to all of you guys. Means a lot. Just to clarify, I do not know why they decided the last country they tried would not accommodate me. I just assumed it was HIV. It didn't sound like an outright rejection, but the country that could not accommodate me was one of the countries in my pre-approved list that they said would accommodate my medical needs. Very confusing. I will appeal, but re applying seems kind of pointless to me. Nothing will change unless they find a cure for HIV.

This has been a journey so far for me, and I don't want to quit. However, my only intent is to be of service somewhere. The prospect of going back and forth with the peace corps bureaucracy takes way too much energy

Offline ncdesertprincess

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Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2014, 03:30:12 PM »
I had received a similar response: denying pre-medical clearance. I think they jump to conclusions and make premature judgements because they didn't look at everything I submitted. I appealed and the medical decision was overturned.
If you feel you want to serve in the PC, then I suggest that you appeal their decision and see what happens. I wish you the best!

Offline RPCVro

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Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2014, 04:14:20 PM »
To offer a little bit more context, it's important to keep in mind that the people evaluating your application for service, and the people evaluating your medical requirements are completely separate offices with strict privacy protocols. Unless you told him or her, the person looking to invite you would not be told that you are HIV positive. Even at the country level, your medical info would be handled strictly between the Peace Corps Medical Officer and the Peace Corps Medical Office in DC.

It likely has nothing to do with your physical fitness, but whether or not they could find a site in that particular country which stood a reasonable chance of hosting you without risk of several medical complications. There are strict guidelines in place because Peace Corps becomes liable for your health for the duration you are in their care. These factors can include the certifications and education of doctors in the country (besides the PCMO), the quality and preparedness of the medical facilities and distance from those facilities, the drugs permitted by the country's laws, and more. Are there particular medications you will need? Do those medications need particular storage protocols (like refrigeration)? Are they legal/available in that country? For your sector assignment, is there a hospital close enough to a potential site for you which you could reach with public transportation? Are there ambulance services? Will HIV possibly cause complications with medical conditions commonly experienced by volunteers in that country? With medical-related volunteer deaths having been in the news lately, I can understand why PC is being hyper-vigilant.

Certain countries can handle certain things. While individuals are typically more ready to take risks with themselves, a government organization is very risk-averse when it comes to their care of others. I'm neither supporting nor condoning their decision, but I think the very least you should do is ask for very specific details of the reasoning behind the decision as this could only help you in an appeal or new application.

crh

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Re: Looks like it is over for me
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2014, 02:39:59 PM »
I do know that you can serve with HIV if you contract it while serving (I assume this is given you are taking medications that keep your condition stable etc. etc.). This policy exists because a volunteer who contracted HIV while serving fought for it. If you can definitely say you were rejected due to your HIV status alone, you can also stand up.

https://www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights_hiv-aids/peace-corps-agrees-stop-discriminating-against-volunteers-hiv