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Alan Franciscus
Editor-in-Chief
HCV Advocate
HBV Advocate

Monday, May 6, 2013

Feds: Health providers with hepatitis B are no threat to patients, covered by disability law

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 U.S. 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.

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