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WINZ: Most HIV people 'healthy and able to work'

Thu 8 Dec 2011 In: New Zealand Daily News

Most people who are HIV-positive will be healthy and able to work, says Work and Income following the Government's signals that it plans to change sickness benefits "to shift people’s attitudes and set genuinely different expectations about being available for work." A visiting UK HIV specialist, Dr Mark Nelson, said last week assessments of HIV positive people's level of ability to work must be carried out with compassion and insight. "A lot of the people who can't work, you wouldn't be able to measure why they can't work." Dr Nelson and Body Positive, the country's largest HIV positive people's advocacy and support organisation, say HIV infection has a complex impact on people's emotional and physical health. "Many people have times when they can do some work and other times when they feel so lousy they can hardly get out of bed," says BP General Manager Bruce Kilmister. "Work capacity assessments for Sickness Benefit are undertaken by medical professionals" such as the HIV positive person's own GP, a WINZ spokesperson says. "The focus of the assessment will be how HIV is affecting your ability to work... We would encourage people to access whatever medical professional they feel comfortable with and who understands their situation." The majority of people living with HIV and AIDS in New Zealand are gay and bi men.    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 8th December 2011 - 1:24pm

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