How I Learned to Stop Worrying...
... and Love Mandatory HIV Testing.
What a glorious day on the ST Forum page.
Two letters supporting the move to implement 'opt out' HIV testing for patients admitted to hospitals!
Bring a tear to angry doc's eyes, they do.
Mr Goh believes that:
To protect our health-care workers, all patients admitted to a hospital should be subject to a mandatory HIV test.
In this way, they could take extra precaution in handling patients who have been diagnosed as having Aids or HIV infection.
Mr Goh also believes that we should take it a step further and make HIV testing mandatory, a belief shared by Mr Koh, who wrote that:
This should not be interpreted as ignoring civil rights. We are talking about protecting lives - especially those of our health-care workers.
angry doc predicts that a year after we implement 'opt out' or mandatory HIV testing, the number of healthcare workers who become infected with HIV in the course of their work will fall to zero.
From the current rate of zero case per year.
But of course, even though such a scheme will protect the lives of healthcare workers, it doesn't mean that everyone will support it, like say Mr Szeto here, who obviously hates doctors so much he dares question the benefits of 'opt out' HIV testing:
Protect health workers from all blood-borne ills
I REFER to the article, 'HIV tests may be part of hospital admission process' (ST, Aug 4).
I am very pleased to see the Singapore Government placing the safety of healthcare workers at the top of the agenda.
Health Minister Khaw Boon Wan identified the potential transmission of HIV via accidental injuries as a problem, but one has to question if HIV testing is the solution.
By identifying a patient as HIV positive, we have not decreased the risk of accidents. It is through the implementation of strict safety protocols and stringent training that the risk of injuries can be minimised (e.g., wearing protective gear when handling sharp objects).
Implementing a separate set of protocols for dealing with HIV-positive patients will not only highlight what is already a much stigmatised group in society, but could also compromise the standard of care delivered.
Furthermore, why the focus on HIV? Health-care workers may come into contact with many other serious blood-borne infections while on duty.
Should we not have a set of protocols that will effectively protect them from, say, Hepatitis A as well as HIV?
Shame on you, Mr Szeto, for trying to shift the responsibility of infection-control from HIV patients to healthcare workers!
Added: angry doc did a bit of googling to try to find any documented incidence of healthcare workers being infected wiith HIV in the course of their work, but was unable to find any reference.
He did manage to find this rather recent and informative article on HIV/AIDS Prevention published in the Singapore Family Physician though. Well worth a read.