Doctors in Victoria, Australia, Urged to Undergo Regular HIV and Hepatitis Testing
Doctors in Victoria, Australia, will soon be asked to undergo regular HIV and hepatitis testing to "further protect the community" from infection, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reports. The testing is one of the recommendations to be included in the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria's revised guidelines for reducing the risk of doctor-to-patient transmission of HIV or hepatitis (Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 7/18). The Herald-Sun reports that up to 10 doctors in Victoria are infected with HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C, and that as many as seven dentists infected with hepatitis work in public hospitals or clinics. But privacy laws state that doctors and dentists do not have to inform patients of their infection status, and equal opportunity laws bar discrimination against infected providers in the workplace, the Herald-Sun reports. MPBV President Joanna Flynn said that several providers have modified their practices in light of their infection status, adding that patients face "no significant risk" of infection if the doctors are "careful." Flynn said the decision to ask all doctors to undergo HIV and hepatitis testing stems from concerns that some doctors may be infected with the diseases and not know it (Dunn, Herald-Sun, 7/18).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.