Doctors and dentists should not have to reveal their HIV status to their patients. Because of the stigma surrounding HIV, many people are still afraid of HIV positive individuals and their status. People lack education about the virus and are still unsure how it is contracted. Since medical professionals are held to a higher standard than the average person, they are expected to be beyond reproach.
People get nervous when they see their doctors sneezing, coughing or “looking sick”. If doctors and dentists were required to reveal their medical status, there would be outright pandemonium among patients and discrimination against these doctors. Revealing the status of the doctor, whether negative or positive will not be received in a welcoming atmosphere; it would only create discrimination, phobias and unfair treatment to the individual.
Individuals including doctors and dentists have a right to privacy and confidentiality regarding their medical history. The medical professionals should only be required to inform their respective associations (American Medical Association and American Dental Association) of their medical status. These associations should assist with making sure the doctors and dentists are taking their medications and provide other support for the medical professional. As with any job the doctor should be subject to regular fitness tests and well checks to ensure they are able to perform their customary jobs due to their illness.
Doctors and dentists work with sharp needles and instruments, so it is understandable that people might have some type of fear about getting poked or blood transfer. As long as the doctors and dentists do not engage in any questionable activities with their patients where they could transmit the disease (reusing needles, inappropriate handling of biohazard materials), then their HIV status should be not be an issue. The doctor or dentist must ensure that they practice approved safety standards, hand washing and sterilization procedures, as the ultimate goal is the safety of the patient.