Articles Posted in HIV/AIDS

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We are a long way from the 1980s when a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS meant a fatal outcome in the near future. Today, even though people with HIV/AIDS can expect to live long lives with antiretroviral drugs, the condition itself can make it difficult for people to work full-time.

Persons living with HIV/AIDS can face a number of physical and mental impairments that make it difficult to work full time. These people are subject to bacterial, fungal and viral infections, skin impairments, as well as neurological and hematological impairments. They may suffer from chronic diarrhea, fatigue, cardiac problems including cardiomyopathy, as well as an increased risk of cancer. Persons living with HIV may also be at risk for mental problems, including depression and anxiety.

If you can prove that your condition makes it impossible for you to pursue full-time employment, you may have a strong claim for benefits.  However, a diagnosis of HIV by itself will not be sufficient for the Social Security Administration to approve your claim for disability benefits.

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December 1 marked World AIDS Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of HIV/AIDS which has claimed more than 35 million deaths worldwide since it first came to light. There are currently 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS. Southern states, including Georgia, accounted for more than half of the new HIV diagnoses in 2017. In 2016, there were 2,585 adolescents and adults with HIV living in Georgia.

HIV is no longer imminently fatal. With advancements in treatment as well as the easier availability of drugs to treat the condition, patients can expect to live many years with HIV. The anti-retroviral drugs that are used as a primary treatment for persons suffering from HIV are very effective in helping control the progress of the disease. The feelings of fatigue and listlessness that often accompany the use of these drugs can leave a person with HIV unable to lead a productive working life.

HIV severely compromises the immune system, leaving the person susceptible to a host of other infectious diseases. As a result, a patient is therefore at risk of tuberculosis, pneumonia, cancer and other diseases. Recovering benefits for HIV is important because the costs involved in the treatment of this disease can be huge. With a lowered capacity to work as a result of the symptoms of the disease, a person may find himself or herself in financial distress. Recovering disability benefits for HIV involves providing strong evidence of the severity of the symptoms and their interference with your ability to work and earn a sustainable income.

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Persons who suffer from HIV/AIDS may qualify for Social Security disability benefits under certain circumstances.  The Social Security Administration (SSA) requires that the HIV/AIDS condition has lasted for, and is expected to last for, at least 12 months, or is expected to result in the death of the person.

SSA requires evidence that the infection has resulted in a condition which prohibits the person from working.  An HIV diagnosis, although difficult emotionally, will not automatically qualify a person for Social Security disability benefits. It is important to provide evidence that your symptoms are so severe that they make it difficult for you to engage in what the SSA refers to as Substantial Gainful Activity.  Persons who are asymptomatic, or do not have severe symptoms of HIV/ AIDS symptoms, may therefore not qualify for benefits under these criteria.

You must provide strong medical evidence about your eligibility for benefits, such as a full medical history, complete clinical course of the illness, diagnostic lab results, and any other documents that detail your condition and symptoms.

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