chapter  12
17 Pages

A likely story: HIV and the definition of disability in UK employment equality law, 1996–2005


In the late 1990s, HIV-positive people in the UK, buoyed by recent developments in anti-retroviral therapies, found themselves having to argue their own potential decline in health in order to gain access to discrimination claims for HIV-related harassment or dismissal. This chapter analyses how legal and clinical ideas about time contributed to these claims. It focuses on how a test of ‘likelihood’ of future impairment became a significant legal requirement for such individuals, and how lawyers interacted with clinicians to obtain medical reports about claimants’ futures. This analysis is thus about ‘prognosis’, ‘uncertainty’ and the (newfound) promise of anti-retrovirals. It is also about the role of non-human actors: HIV tests, T-cell counts, viral loads, medical reports, and anti-retrovirals, and their role in confabulating multiple, often contradictory, legal temporalities which had significant effects in the lives of people living with HIV.