Hepatitis B no barrier to health care work, federal officials declare
Peter Nguyen was a promising medical student when his school learned that he had tested positive for the hepatitis B virus. He said he was blackballed by school administrators and forced to halt his studies.
“I knew the stigma” that came with a hepatitis diagnosis, Nguyen said. But he thought that a medical school, of all places, would understand. “I came there expecting help. Instead, I was greeted with discrimination.”
Nguyen's prospects of becoming a physician are a lot brighter today. The Department of Justice recently declared in a legal settlement that hepatitis B patients are protected by federal disability law. And, separately, federal health officials have issued a revised set of guidelines that make it clear that health care workers and students who carry the hepatitis B virus — HBV for short — generally pose little or no risk to patients.
Taken together, advocates say, the health guidelines and the Justice Department settlement remove barriers to practice, handing HBV-positive health professionals and students a pair of powerful tools to combat discrimination.
“It gives us so much more leverage. We no longer have to wring our hands,” said Joan Block, executive director and co-founder of the Hepatitis B Foundation, a nonprofit in Doylestown, Bucks County.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
- Lion cubs jump hurdles in Gaza Strip in journey to Jordan sanctuary
- Northwest wildfire season begins early
- Diebold, heirs of Prohibition agent Ness squabble over stock find
- Lawsuit in deaths of 19 firefighters in Arizona yields little cash
- Ohio got DEA approval to import lethal-injection drugs
- Solar-powered plane crosses Pacific Ocean
- Hiring freeze, budget cuts put West Virginia on better footing
- Santorum charter flight tab broke $400K
- Suspect in San Francisco pier shooting was deported 5 times, federal authorities say
- Instances of hacking may be up, but indictments against Chinese military impactful, experts say
- Record-breaking solar-powered plane lands in Hawaii after flight from Japan