HIV and Healthcare Profesionals
Jan 27, 2007
I am a college student. We are all working toward healthcare careers. There seems to be a difference of oppinion as to what happens if we are exposed to HIV on the job and later test positive for HIV. Some believe we will be fired or unable to find a job. Others believe although we will not be fired, it will be reported and society will force us to retire. Although we know it is incrediblly rare to contract HIV this way, you cannot deny this is in the back of your mind. So, is there life for a medical professional who contracts HIV from an on the job exposure? What kind of a future is it? Will we still be able to support our families?
Response from Dr. Frascino
Yes, there is life for a medical professional who contracts HIV from an occupational exposure. I speak from personal experience, as I was occupationally infected in January 1991! You would not be fired. That would be illegal. Please note there are a variety of blood-borne illnesses that health care workers could have hepatitis B and C, for instance. These are more contagious than HIV. Rather than restrict health care workers, we have all adapted "universal precautions." These measures are designed to protect against transmission of blood-borne illnesses including HIV in both directions, i.e. from patient to health care worker and vice versa. You'll learn all about this as you get a bit further along in your training. Don't let the fear of HIV prevent you from pursuing your career dream, OK?
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