August 15, 2013

Government to lift ban on NHS workers with HIV

blogger_HIVThe Government is to lift a ban on NHS workers with HIV carrying out certain procedures on patients.

Staff in the UK who are undergoing treatment for HIV will be able to take part in all procedures from which they are currently banned, including surgery and dentistry.

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, said science had moved on and it was time to scrap “outdated rules”.

She said better treatment meant HIV was often a chronic condition that could be managed, with people living long and normal lives.

Self-testing kits for HIV will also be legalised in the UK from April 2014, with the aim of improving early detection of the disease.

Prof Davies said: “We’ve got outdated rules.

“At the moment we bar totally safe healthcare workers who are on treatment with HIV from performing many surgical treatments, and that includes dentists.”

She said science had now taken things forward, adding: “It’s a science issue.

“What we want to do - and want to get over - is how society needs to move from thinking about HIV as positive or negative and thinking about HIV as a death sentence, to thinking about whether they’re infectious or not infectious.”

She said that with effective treatment “people are leading lives that are normal in quality and length”.

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