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
- 8 shot to death, including gunman, in Missouri rampage
- FCC plays net traffic cop
- White House won’t snub pro-Israel lobby
- Heavy snow cuts power, snarls travel across South
- Impasse over funding for Department of Homeland Security likely will go to wire
- French bulldog joins top 10 list in U.S.
- Bomb plot trial ends in Saudi’s conviction
- Devoted California couple dies within 5 hours of each other
- Foreign government gifts to family charity present candidacy hurdle for Hillary Clinton
- Vote puts federal prosecutor Lynch closer to Attorney General’s Office
- Russian threat via cyber on the rise, says U.S. intelligence assessment