U.K. Patients Treated by HIV-Positive Health Care Provider Will No Longer Automatically Be Informed of Risk of Transmission
Under new rules to be issued in January by the U.K. Department of Health, patients treated by an HIV-positive doctor or nurse will not automatically be told that they may be at risk for HIV transmission, the Independent reports. Currently, any patient treated by a National Health Service professional with HIV in surgery, gynecology, dentistry and some forms of midwifery must be told about the possible risk of transmission and offered an HIV test. Under the new rules, only those at serious risk will be informed. The Expert Advisory Group on AIDS and the United Kingdom Advisory Panel for Health Care Workers Infected With Blood-Borne Viruses advised the health department that the risk of transmitting HIV from practitioner to patient during medical procedures "may not be as serious as thought." The rules are likely to be challenged by patients' groups that have called for "absolute transparency" regarding health professionals with HIV. An NHS specialist with HIV is currently challenging a legal action to notify his patients, saying that notification is a breach of his privacy (Woolf, Independent, 12/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.