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A life in tatters

Now that the strict rules on HIV-positive dentists practising in the UK have been lifted, we look at how it impacted on one dentist’s life

My diagnosis was a shock. I had always been so fit and suddenly being in hospital was a new experience to me. I was admitted to hospital with quite bad PCP pneumonia. Getting the HIV diagnosis, when I was so unwell in my hospital bed, just made me think my life – as I knew it – especially my career that I had invested so much time and money in, was over. I had a great time in my career up until then, training others and starting postgraduate qualifications. Lying sick in hospital this was all in tatters. I could now not practise. I had no idea what I was going to do, or how I would cope with life now.   Something to cling to

My consultant went out of her way to reassure me that soon, it may be possible to get back to my normal life. This gave me some hope, something to cling to and a reason to fight on. I informed my boss, and my deanery, who have both been excellent in supporting me, and have kept me on in a different role. In my time away from practice, I have had to change to different postgraduate qualifications. Every time I go to see my consultant she asks me if there is any news about regulation changes; she keeps saying it is such a waste to not have me working clinically. She has held me up as a role model, a healthcare worker who did not give up, carried on down a slightly different path, found alternative work in the profession and kept so positive waiting any news.  

Mixed feelings

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