The practice recognises that AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is a health issue that has attracted widespread publicity (which is often misinformed). It is therefore essential for people to be informed of the true facts of the condition and where to turn to for advice. The practice will adopt best practices in all dealings with patients in accordance with the requirements and the ethos of the Equality Act 2010.
See also AIDS / HIV (Staff) Policy
AIDS is caused by a virus known as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) which attacks the body’s natural defence systems and leaves it vulnerable to infection and cancers. At present, there is no cure for AIDS, and it is fatal without treatment.
Beginning anti-retroviral therapy after detection of HIV positive status helps in delaying the onset of AIDS and its related conditions. With early diagnosis and effective treatment, most people with HIV will not go on to develop AIDS.
HIV infection is mainly transmitted by unprotected sexual intercourse with a person who has the virus.
Other routes of infection occur only in certain high-risk groups e.g. drug users sharing infected needles, transmission from mother to her unborn child, healthcare staff in surgical theatres, certain contact with infected human blood or tissue products (rare).
There is NO evidence that the virus is transmitted by any other route through coughing, sneezing, sharing cooking utensils or other articles in general use or through sharing toilet facilities.
Normal social and employment contact with an infected person is safe for both employees and members of the public as HIV is not spread that way.
The practice will regard AIDS in the same way as any other serious illness.
Good clinical practice will apply in the respect as treating any other patient.
There will be no specific marking of records, although the disease may be added to the disease register.
Patients with the disease will be treated in the same way as all other patients. Staff dealing with patients adversely will be subject to normal disciplinary procedures.
Staff are trained in the importance of universal precautions that, when followed correctly, mean there is no need for concern when providing care for those with HIV or any other blood borne virus.
If a patient has concerns about having been exposed to the virus it is better for them to self-refer to the local GU clinic. There they will benefit from anonymity and thorough up to date counselling and support.
The practice adheres to the Data Protection Act 1998, the Caldicott Principles and recommended best practice as detailed in ‘A guide to confidentiality in health and social care: Treating Confidential Information with Respect, HSCIC, 2013.
Consent is appropriately sought before personal information is used in ways that do not directly contribute to the delivery of care services, and objections to the disclosure of confidential personal information are appropriately respected.
It is hoped that action taken to increase knowledge about AIDS / HIV and the provision of opportunities for individual to discuss their fears will help counter misinformation and prejudice before problems arise.
The aims of the policy are:
Terence Higgins Trust – www.tht.org.uk
Avert (International HIV & AIDS Charity) – www.avert.org
National Aids Trust – www.nat.org.uk
NHS Choices – HIV & AIDS – http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hiv/pages/introduction.aspx