TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Hepatitis B no barrier to health care work, federal officials declare

What is it?

• A contagious and potentially fatal liver disease.

• Transmitted through bodily fluids.

• The virus that causes it is most commonly passed on during unprotected sex.

• Intravenous drug use is another major risk factor.

• It can also be passed from an infected mother to her baby at birth.

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Sunday, May 5, 2013, 8:48 p.m.
 

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

Most-Read Nation

  1. Crying suspect trapped in Calif. chimney, saved but arrested
  2. EPA hopes grants will reduce Lake Erie algae
  3. Edible pot ban proposed, yanked in Colorado
  4. Officials: 500M financial records hacked
  5. Over 3 years, extended federal leave adds up to $775M
  6. Crowd at Met protests ‘Death of Klinghoffer,’ calling opera anti-Semitic
  7. News Alert
  8. Congress examines NSA official’s part-time job
  9. Suspect in Va. disappearance charged in rape
  10. Navy civilian goes on trial for diverting $2M to brother of his boss
  11. Indiana slaying suspect hints at more deaths
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.