Please find attached a copy of the document “Guidelines for Medical Health Officers: Approach to people with HIV/AIDS who may pose a risk of harm to others.”
These guidelines have been created to assist Medical Health Officers (MHOs) in BC in the difficult situation where a person with HIV poses a risk to others because they are unable or refuse to act to prevent the transmission of HIV. These situations are rare, and actions taken by MHOs in these situations in order to prevent HIV transmission to others are a small part of overall strategies for HIV prevention in BC, with the primary role of public health being to counsel and support those with HIV and their partners.
These guidelines do not represent a new approach but rather document the present approach used by MHOs in these situations, and reflect the current options available to MHO under provincial public health legislation for the control of communicable diseases. These guidelines are not prescriptive but describe an approach and options available to MHO for use at their discretion based on the risk of transmission and the unique circumstances of each case. They are based on the current knowledge of HIV transmission risk, and incorporate recommendations from an expert working group convened by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee on HIV/AIDS in 2005.
These guidelines were approved by the provincial Communicable Disease Policy Committee on November 30, 2010. The guidelines are being shared with community agencies and AIDS service organizations in BC, for information. This is being done by each health authority to local organizations by regional MHOs. I am sending this document to you as a provincial agency and a valued partner of PHSA (apologies in advance for any cross-distribution). These guidelines have not yet been posted to the BCCDC website; they will be posted in a few months after this initial dissemination to community partners is completed.
Dr. Réka Gustafson, MHO with Vancouver Coastal Health is available to answer any questions you may have regarding how the guidelines will be implemented by MHO (tel: 604-675-3925, e-mail: [email protected] ). While I do not represent the MHO perspective, I was involved in the creation of these guidelines and can address any general questions or comments about them. A FAQ document has been created and is attached for further information.
Dr. Mark Gilbert
Mark Gilbert, MD, FRCPC
Surveillance & Online Sexual Health Services
STI/HIV Division, BC Centre for Disease Control