Because I reported my HIV medications on my application for a 3rd class aviation medical certificate the FAA has put me through 16 months of hell. I was ordered to submit all of my health records to prove that I am physically healthy. I was ordered to take neurological and cognitive tests to prove that HIV has not made me mentally deficient. I was forced to submit to psychiatric screening to prove I was neither mentally unbalanced nor depressed.
Next week I will be examined by a substance abuse professional to prove that I am not an alcoholic or drug addict even though I have no history of such dependencies. In fact in my career as an aviation professional (jet aircraft mechanic) I am in a random drug/alcohol screening program administered under FAA rules. I have never been arrested for any alcohol related offense nor have I ever failed a drug or alcohol screening. Once I pass this final challenge and all these findings are submitted to the FAA it will still take another 3 months for them to review them and hopefully issue my certification.
This process has cost $4,800 so far not including lost work. hotel or travel expenses and I expect the next step to cost another $1,000. The process has also cost me 5 days of vacation time I could have used for recreation and because there are no approved professionals in Las Vegas it has involved numerous trips out of town. One grueling drive to Phoenix, Two drives to Long Beach California, two drives to Los Angeles and the last drive will be to St. George Utah. I am relieved that St George is only 120 miles from Las Vegas so I will not have to stay overnight.
All these hurdles are based on assumptions that there is something wrong with me because I acquired an HIV infection. If you thought that the federal government is the last place you would encounter prejudice and discrimination, think again. This is exactly why so many of us choose to keep our status a secret from anyone except within the HIV community. Remember when a government it grows too big it will always become heavy handed and eventually tyrannical.
Even though myself and anyone who knows me is confident I will breeze through the process I still ask you to wish me luck. You would not think I would need luck but what I have been through already proves that I do!