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Disclosure of HIV status
Feb 21, 2007

I was diagnosed with HIV a year ago and am applying for my residency training in family medicine through the Canadian matching program this year. I will be started soon on HIV meds, my CD4 counts being 230 and vl 69,000. My HIV specialist tells me that she needs to make sure that I am undetectable before the start of my training and that she needs to report it to the licensing bodies to take the necessary precautions. Do I have to reveal my status? I am scared that I will be denied acceptance if my status is disclosed. I need some guidance please. What could be the consequences and who can I revert to for help? I've been an avid reader of this website since diagnosed and have great hopes for an answer. Thanks!

Response from Dr. Conway

I congratulate you heartily for your courage in pursuing your medical training under these circumstances and for the courage to write to me. In Canada, there is absolutely no requirement for your physician to report you to licensing authorities unless she thinks you will endanger patient safety in a reckless manner. It is your responsibility, however, to report to your provincial college and condition that you have that could affect your ability to practice medicine in a safe and effective manner. HIV infection is one such condition. With the college, you would work through what you are able and not able to do safely and effectively and you would then go on with your training. It will help the discussion greatly if your viral load is undetectable before this discussion occurs, as this greatly reduces the risk of you transmitting HIV to anyone else, and will send the signal that you are taking the possible risk of transmission quite seriously, and doing all in your power to mitigate it.

No one else needs to know about your status, although you may think about informing your program director after you have had the discussion with the college.

Good luck with all of this and I look forward to the honor of having you as a colleague in the near future...



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