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His company doesn't know he has HIV

He would rather quit his job than let his employers know that he is HIV positive.

All he is willing to divulge is that he has a health condition and that it is irrelevant to the job.

"If they want to make me specify exactly what it is, I would rather not work there," says 24-year-old James.

He does not want to use his real name.

So secretive is he that he insists on speaking to The New Paper on Sunday over a redirected phone call from a third party.

He chooses his words carefully.

He will only say that he works as an office administrator and that his company does not know about his disease.

CONSEQUENCES

James says: "The trick is to not tell, just reassure. Let them know that my condition will not affect my work.

"I'll tell only if people understand that HIV doesn't mean anything with medication. But right now, I feel that it's not enough."

The consequences of telling the truth will probably not end well, he believes.

If he loses his job, it can mean losing his income and his ability to pay for the anti-viral medicine.

And without medication and treatment, he could lose his life.

James says: "I take a significant amount of effort to keep myself healthy and I function normally with medication. I want to keep it that way."

Since he was diagnosed with HIV three years ago, the only people who know about his condition are his mother, sister and a small group of friends.

These are friends he knows would not abandon him.

The decision to tell his mother was harder to make, and he waited a year until he summoned the courage to confess.

"My mum was really upset when she knew about it and she took months to come to terms with it."

He knows of Mr Avin Tan's public disclosure about his HIV, but says he cannot foresee himself doing the same.

"There's just no incentive to come out. I want to choose the people I tell until it's safe to come out without being discriminated against."