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mandatory HIV testing
Feb 27, 2006

Mrs/Ms Breuer, I recently saw a question featured on this site in which a person asked if an employer could force them to take and HIV test. Your answer stated, "surgeon? pilot? no?, then your employer cannot request an HIV test. None of their business". Why did you single out pilots and surgeons? I am a surgeon with HIV and it is still no one's business. The issue of mandatory testing for physicians was laid to rest long ago. I think your answer to that question undermines the fact that HIV infected surgeons and pilots pose essentially no risks to others. As far as a HIV+ surgeons risk to patients, this has been addressed in many scientific articles and it has been proven over and over that with universal precautions we pose essentially no risk. Also, why shouldn't we be afforded the same rights as as our patients. Do you think every patient knows or informs a surgeon that they have HIV or Hep C. We take on these risks everyday to take care of people. Before you single entire categories of people in which you think HIV should be handled differently, I would recommend you do your research.

Response from Ms. Breuer

Thank you for your response. When I do hear from health care providers or health care students, I point out that fortunately, the legislatures have not inserted their heavy hands into this issue; the hospital's own board sets the rules about infectious disease and invasive procedures, so the protocol is not a matter of "the law." But you are so right about the answer being too broad when the reader is a health care provider. I apologize for using too broad a brush.

We are swamped with questions from student nurses who seroconvert and assume that their dreams have just gone up in smoke, and we spend a lot of time reassuring them that their career plans do not have to change. My "surgeon? pilot" question is clearly outdated, and I promise to deep-six it.



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