13 June 2018

South Africa: Flight Attendant Grounded Because of HIV Status

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(file photo).
analysis

SECTION27 is tackling HIV discrimination at the Civil Aviation Authority after the body grounded a flight attendant for months after he disclosed his HIV status.

"Good vibes" - it's how Wade Schaerer signs off his emails.

The 26-year-old Johannesburg flight attendant has worked hard to maintain an upbeat outlook on life since finding out his positive HIV-status at the end of March 2017.

In 2018 though, Schaerer, who works for a domestic South African airline, was pushed to the limits when it came to maintaining his positive vibes. His fight with the South African Civil Aviation Authority (Sacaa) for his right to work as an inflight manager and his right to choose the antiretroviral (ARV) treatment regimen best suited for him has been a bruising battle.

He has chosen not to be silent and his battle has raised questions about authority's HIV/Aids policies that appear out of date and out of step with modern management of HIV/Aids. The application of the aviation authority's protocols also seems random and haphazard.

Schaerer's decision to disclose his HIV-positive status to the aviation authority saw him grounded for four months. He lost income as a result, was subjected to medical...

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