HIV (+) ICU Nurse,...
Mar 13, 2001
Hi everyone, I work as nurse in the ICU unit of a large inner city hospital. I was diagnosed HIV (+) late last year. Disclosing my HIV status, or thinking of changing my field of practice has never been an issue, but I thought I'd run this one by you anyway. In my daily practice I do NOT perform invasive procedures myself(that is, I do not place a central line or a cathteter myself, etc), but I do deliver routine care of invasive catheters and lines necessary for hemodynamic monitoring, such as changing dressings, "flushing", etc. I have always used universal precautions (body substance isolation) religiously, even before my seroconversion. My question is: Am I obligated to disclose my HIV status to my manager, or consider changing my line of work as nurse? I honestly don't believe I pose a risk to any of my patients. Thasnks for your advice.
Response from Ms. Breuer
The key to your question is your scrupulous use of universal precautions. That's the best precaution for you and for your patients. No, you do not need to disclose unless your hospital has posted a policy that specifically requires an HIV+ employee to disclose. Even then, I'd question the logic behind the policy before I disclosed.
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