Dentists' Disclosure of HIV Analytical Essay by Master Researcher

Dentists' Disclosure of HIV
Discusses whether dentists are obliged to inform their patients that they have HIV/AIDS.
# 41433 | 1,400 words | 11 sources | MLA | 2002 | US

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This paper explores the ethical dilemma around the issue of dentists' disclosure of their HIV status to their patients. The paper considers the arguments for and against dentists' disclosure of their condition and draws the conclusion that other than taking the ethical responsibility of taking precautions, the dentists have no responsibility to disclose their HIV status to their patients.

Scenario & Ethical dilemma
Refutation of Con-argument

From the Paper:

"Although HIV-positive health care workers, including dentists, have been identified in the past, proven HIV transmission to patients is very rare. Most authorities recommend that an expert panel, which could then, if necessary, refer to the regulatory body to revoke or restrict the person's license to practice, monitor an HIV-positive health care worker. Mandatory HIV testing is not required for health care workers because they generally do not pose a risk for infecting their patients; they are, however, ethically and legally obligated to report their HIV status to their profession's regulatory body.
"The main argument for disclosure for HCPs relates to the idea that people have the right to know all risks--no matter how small--associated with their care. In turn, this argument is founded on the assumption that HIV+ HCPs pose a risk to their patients. Proponents of disclosure argue that no protection is enough. In this age when we're constantly learning new facts about HIV transmission, we cannot afford to take any risks. Every day nurses and physicians across the country stick themselves accidentally with needles. What guarantees are there that they won't accidentally bleed into patients during surgical or invasive procedures? For very traditional mainstream legal and ethical reasons, it seems a patient has a right to know. It is better to follow existing guidelines on blood-borne diseases because the transmission of hepatitis B from doctor to patient could occur. Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver. It kills about 1 million people worldwide annually."

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