The Government is to lift a ban on NHS workers with HIV carrying out certain procedures on patients. England's chief medical officer said science had moved on and it was time to scrap "outdated rules".
The Terrence Higgins Trust has welcomed the changes announced by the Department of Health today that will enable those living with HIV to carry out certain procedures in patients.
Sir Nick Partridge, chief executive at Terrence Higgins Trust said:
Advances in medication have transformed what it means to live with HIV, and it’s great to see regulations starting to catch up. People diagnosed in good time can have full, healthy lives, and effective treatment dramatically reduces the risk of the virus being passed on. So long as the right safeguards are in place, there is now no reason why a dentist or a midwife with HIV should be barred from treating patients, or why people who would prefer to test at home should be denied that chance.
Legislation plays a vital role in shaping attitudes. We hope these changes continue to improve public understanding of HIV and support for those living with the virus.
Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National Aids Trust has hailed the new policy for NHS workers with HIV for being "based on up-to-date scientific evidence and not on fear, stigma or outdated information".
Allowing healthcare workers living with HIV to undertake exposure-prone procedures corrects the current guidance which offers no more protection for the general public but keeps qualified and skilled people from working in the career they had spent many years training for.
England's chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, has said it is time to scrap "outdated rules" which ban NHS workers with HIV carrying out certain procedures on patients.
At the moment we bar totally safe healthcare workers who are on treatment with HIV from performing many surgical treatments, and that includes dentists.
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".
"With effective treatment, they are not infectious," she added.