I Was ‘Rejected’ Because I Have Hepatitis B!

This Covid-19 pandemic has hit everyone in the world really hard.

When Manila, Philippines declared community quarantine last March 2020, things become more complicated for me while working in a Philippine off-shore gaming operator (POGO) where we are advised to be stay-in whilst the operations are still on-going. Came the worst scenario, the company has to stop operating, all local employees are laid off, and I also decided to resign due to the mental and health pressures experienced while in the ‘stay-in’ setup.

2020 became my longest idle year — no work since April to date. But really not too idle. I’m an IT by profession. With help from friends, I bought a cheap laptop capable of HD graphics works and I did some online freelance graphics and layout designs so I can still have funds to keep surviving and to continue supporting my family back home, while I’m in the city staying at my niece’s partner’s place.

When things are getting ‘warmer’ in the country again, I also began sending job applications. I lost count how many sites I’ve visited and applications I sent until I started receiving phone interviews — roughly it was already around November when recruiters started ringing.

After numerous phone interviews and rejections, I finally received a job offer as IT for another POGO company.

With the new normal setup, new hires are required to undergo a swab test and medical examination from the company-designated medical clinic — all expenses paid by the joiner first, and will be reimbursed comes first salary.

I’m so excited! My 2020 will not end a zero.

Around December, I received all the company instructions and I’m confident (like always) when I did the pre-employment tests. One of the admins even assisted me during my swab test and medical examination and that they will arrange my move-in when they receive the results.

A week passed, I haven’t heard anything from the company. I thought there must be some issues the company is sorting at the moment that’s causing the delay. But I should at least receive any notice, right?

While waiting for the company’s notice , I sent a message to the medical clinic to get a copy of my swab result. Great, I don’t have Covid! Then what’s really keeping the company?

After some days, I decided to send the HR a message and asked the status of my move-in. Only then one of the admins sent me a notice that they cant accept me because I failed the Hepatitis B test. He also sent my medical results and said some stuff I cant accept by that time.

I got rejected, again, because I have Hepatitis B.

I’m so angry that they didn’t notify me firstly when they received my results.

I got anxious for the people I’m living with, since we have a baby in the house. But I’m more furious to the company that kept my condition from me.

Automatically, I’ve isolated myself and the utensils I use from everyone in the house because of the ‘myth’ of Hepatitis B we Filipinos believed in.

Filipino (or could be other Asians) belief of Hepatitis B:

1. You can get infected by the person’s saliva.

2. Anything the person touches or uses should be disinfected thoroughly (or disposed off) to stop the infection. Their things are washed separately from the rest — or they can do it on their own using their separate disinfectant and washing tools.

3. (Insanely cautious belief) The person’s things must be separated from the rest of the people around them because that’s how contagious it is.

4. (Insanely cautious belief) The person’s presence itself can infect others that’s why ‘they’ should be isolated.

I’m too confident about myself that I am healthy — I don’t smoke and only drink occasionally. I’m even conscious in the food that I take. And according to doctor Google there’s no way I can acquire it now since.

“I’m living with someone who eats dirty, very unhygienic and are showing all symptoms doctor Google told me about. So it should be that person‘s fault.”, I told myself.

This really hit me.

It’s hard for me to accept that after waiting so long — did my best in phone interviews and made efforts in my medical tests — I’ll get rejected just this.

The following day, I sent the company a message that I’ll get a second opinion. But they’re already decided not to receive me anymore and said stuff that I should be aware of about the disease like I should take care of my body and the people around me.

To get these worries out of my head and break the stigma of Hepatitis B, I went to a clinic that provides primary care services and sexual healthcare — MediPrime Medical Clinic.

The clinic gave me a private consultation about Hepatitis B and did another test. Although the result came out positive again, it doesn’t hurt to know my status anymore and I feel relieved as well. They gave me proper knowledge about how it is being transmitted and that I cant infect the people I’m living with only because we share the same utensils — except those that is (can be) stained by my blood, like shavers or toothbrushes (but who shares a toothbrush, right?).

I cant infect the people I’m living with only because we share the same utensils — except those that is (can be) stained by my blood, like shavers or toothbrushes.

They also encouraged me to continue job hunting because upon their assessment, I am fit to work.

And according to them, I was not rejected by the company. In fact, I was discriminated by the company just because I have Hepatitis B. Anything non-health related jobs, like me being an IT, don’t necessarily require to be Hepatitis B-free. They are even willing to write a letter addressed to the company. But I’m already decided — I’m going back home to heal myself and make me better.

It is not the end of the line for us because we have Hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is curable and we can be vaccinated for its prevention.

Let’s break the stigma of Hepatitis B. Let’s heal ourselves and come back better!



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IT Support Specialist | Graphics and Layout Designer | ESL Practitioner | Writing is the other side of me.