The human immunodeficiency virus is a blood borne pathogen that is spread through blood, sexual fluids, breast milk, and vaginal secretions. It attacks the immune system, which inevitably causes a decline in CD4 cells. It is treated with antiretrovirals, which keep HIV viral loads low. Patients are recommended to use condoms (male or female), or to abstain from sexual fluid exposure.
HIV affects over 135,000 people in Florida. Of the HIV population, 42% are black, almost 25% are believed to be white, and 31% are Hispanic. With testing and prevention efforts, you can help support the decline in HIV infections.
Lastly, you are responsible for maintaining privacy during the course of HIV treatment. Obtain general consent from the patient by explaining testing procedures (including opt out procedures if warranted), and what you're collecting information for. You may report the status of an HIV patient, much like another STI patient, to the department of health, without liability, but you will also not be held liable if you withhold it in the name of a patient's privacy. Florida promotes voluntary disclosure. The ADA does make exceptions when discussing HIV treatment between co-workers, in life or death emergencies, when courts or health departments deem it necessary to disclose the HIV status of a person, and when you have obtained general consent from the patient to discuss their case.
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