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Right To Privacy
Apr 27, 2004

Hi,

I was recently turned away by 3 plastic surgeons in Nashville, Tennessee due to the fact I am HIV+. I am 31 years old and I am in excellent health. I have never had any aids defining illnesses. They simply stated that they test do not work on HIV infected patients due to risk of infection. I'm sorry but I do not buy into that excuse. While I feel there is some truth in what they are saying I feel that it is a risk that I am taking by electing to have the surgery. I was just trying to be honest and tell them of my existing health issues prior to any surgery. Wouldn't the fact that I am HIV+ be protected under my right to privacy? Are these cases of discrimination due to poor physician education on HIV in my demographic area? Where should I go from here? I know there are doctors out there that will operate on me, somewhere...Please help, I am just looking for some Liposuction on my mid-section.

Response from Ms. Breuer

There are several possible approaches. One would be to contact the TN medical board that certifies plastic surgeons and ask for a referral, explaining that three board certified (I assume) plastic surgeons in TN have refused to provide care, and as far as you know, that's illegal.

The other is to approach another surgeon and discuss the procedure you want without disclosing. That raises another batch of issues, of course, but the fact is that surgeons are expected to treat all patients as if the patients had HIV and hepatitis--in short, it is their responsibility to protect themselves from bloodborne pathogens. Your call.



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