Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Read Now: Expert Opinions on HIV Cure Research
   
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
           
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


Disclosure to a health care provider
Aug 4, 2010

Dr. Bob,

I have seen several queries in this forum concerning the obligation to disclose (or not) but only one that was somewhat related. I am hiv+, on meds with an undetectable VL, and otherwise healthy. Other than for my wife, I have gone to great pains to conceal my status from my family, friends, and coworkers -- mostly for obvious reasons.

I am greatly in need of (yet another) surgery on an ailing knee but am very reticent to disclose my hiv status. This would be the first such procedure since becoming infected. Other family members use the same orthopedic surgeon, my wife works for the hospital system that our insurance would require me to use, and my last name is fairly recognizable. I know that HIPPA rules require confidentiality and all, but from a practical standpoint, the likelihood that it would not get around is virtually zero. The impact of that would be professionally and personally devastating, not only for me but perhaps for my wife as well.

You can probably see where this is heading. My predilection is to not disclose my status but I have misgivings about that as well. On the one hand, one could argue that if disclosure is not obligatory for sex, why should it be so in an environment where practitioners are supposed to use universal precautions. On the other hand, there is a much greater risk that one may come in contact with infected blood (even though the VL may be low). I don't believe that they routinely test orthopedic patients for hiv and have never been tested prior to my other surgeries, but, should they do so this time, that could prove equally embarrassing. I don't want to think of myself as a jerk if I don't disclose, but I also cannot risk the consequences of doing so. I'm not certain just what I'm asking here other than for your thoughts. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

It is not in your best interests to hide information from your doctors. This information may be crucial in evaluating or treating a medical problem or complication. If you feel you cannot be honest with your health care providers, including being upfront about your HIV-positive status, you should find new health care providers with whom you can work more closely and honestly, even if this means changing health care plans or paying out of pocket. Don't compromise your health. Being honest is never the wrong decision no matter what the immediate consequences may be.

Dr. Bob



Previous
Starting over
Next
Am still a bit confused-Syphilis Question (ORAL SEX AND STDs, 2010)

  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS


 
Advertisement



Q&A TERMS OF USE

This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint

Advertisement