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Should I disclose my HIV status to my company?

Q: I am a 39 years old man diagnosed with hip avascular necrosis (AVN) in both the hips and need to be operated. I am HIV positive too and working in a private company. I am insured under mediclaim through company and I do not want to disclose my HIV positive status. Will any doctor do the surgery without disclosing my HIV positive status?

A:First, I am unaware of any such doctor. Second, you will need to inform the doctors of your HIV status, since orthopedic surgery is a high risk for transmission of the infection to healthcare personnel during surgery. Third, I don't think that your claim should be rejected if you are HIV positive, unless you were positive before you got yourself insured and did not inform. In that case the insurance company can refuse to allow your claim on the grounds that you had an illness that you did not disclose. If I remember correctly, the supreme court recently asked an insurance company to pay up though the patient did not inform his illness before insurance, on the grounds that the undisclosed illness was unrelated to the disease for which the claim was made. However, there is always difficulty, and you do not wish to go in for lawsuits.

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