Physician with probable HIV infection
May 7, 2008
Dr. Frascino, I am a practing physician whose partner recently tested positive for HIV. Given the time we have been together I am quite sure I am positive as well. I currently have no symptoms and I am very leary of having my practice partners and other colleagues find out and would like to get some advice. I am in a specialty that does not have direct patient contact so I am not worried about infecting others. I know I need to get tested and start treatment but I really am concerned about losing my job, having lab techs finding lab results or having other physicians see my record or through insurance claims. Any advice you have on how to procede would be appreciated.
Response from Dr. Frascino
The first step would be to ascertain if indeed you have contracted the virus. Start by getting a Home Access Express Test. It is sold in retail and online pharmacies. It uses a double EIA with confirmatory IFA. Sensitivity and specificity approach 100%. Blood is obtained by lancet, and a filter strip with blotted blood is mailed in a protected envelop using an anonymous code only. If negative, you'll need to repeat the test out to six months from the time of your last possible exposure. If positive, your options for remaining completely anonymous are limited. You could find a private practice with an HIV specialist who is willing to work closely with you to protect your privacy. To remain completely anonymous you would most likely have to avoid submitting claims to your insurance company and use a lab outside your area. I should also point out you cannot lose your job as a consequence of being HIV positive. That would be against the law. We have had a number of high profile patients at the Frascino Medical Group over the years that have had to keep their serostatus confidential for a variety of reasons. Much can be accomplished by working with a competent and compassionate HIV specialist. But first things first. Get your anonymous Home Access Express Test first. Let's take this step by step, OK?
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