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Can doctors have HIV?
Aug 27, 1997

Are doctors allowed to work in hospitals and have the HIV virus? This is a very important question for me.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Local hospital boards generally write the policy for their own hospitals about HIV positive health care workers. Rarely is an HIV-positive health care worker restricted from practicing. Some hospital boards do restrict the practice of HIV-positive surgeons because of the risks of invasive procedures, but other medical professionals usually are able to practice regardless of HIV status. This standard is based on the fact that HIV is bloodborne, and difficult to transmit unless the health care provider is having sex or sharing needles with the patient.

In a health care setting, the risk of transmission from patient to health care provider is far greater than the risk of transmission from health care provider to patient. If you are nervous about a coming hospitalization, please consider that in the U.S. we have no documented cases of transmission from a health care provider to a patient. I encourage you to have a frank conversation with the health care provider or hospital administrator if you have more questions.

-- Nancy Breuer



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