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Drug testing and HIV meds?
Feb 18, 2004

My son is applying for a job at a local hospital. They require a drug screening. He has been told that Sustive can cause a false positive for marijuana - is this true? He doesn't feel that he needs to disclose his HIV status - this job doesnot require patient contact. He is 21 years old and attends college this is just a part time job for him. What should he do? Thank you

Response from Ms. Breuer

The false positive can result from Sustiva's interaction with one of the available marijuana tests. He is correct that he does not need to disclose his HIV status. We normally advise people not to unless they are fully aware of and fully comfortable with the potential outcomes, and have studied the workplace long enough to be able to predict responses. A pre-employment drug test certainly isn't a good reason to disclose.

Have your son check the form for information about which marijuana test will be used. If it's "GC/MS," he has nothing to worry about. This is the more sensitive of the marijuana tests and will not react with Sustiva to produce a false positive. Or carry a physician's note asking that the GC/MS test be used, WITHOUT naming the medication that might cause the false positive.

By the way, he wouldn't be under legal or moral pressure to disclose even if his job did have patient contact. Unless he were performing blind invasive procedures on patients, he would not have any reason to fear the possibility of transmitting HIV to them. We correspond with many HIV-positive nurses, physicians and other healthcare workers. Taking simple precautions, they are fully able to do their jobs.

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