HIV Testing and Substance Abuse among Healthcare Professionals – Medical Ethics Example

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"HIV Testing and Substance Abuse among Healthcare Professionals" is a great example of a paper on medical ethics. My response to this debate is NO, and I am in total disarray with the debate that advocates for mandatory testing of health care professionals and individuals. Healthcare professionals are people trained to handle and nurse individuals ailing from various diseases. The medics understand more about diseases than any other professionals and the stigma that accompanies a disease such as HIV-AIDS. Mandatory testing for these professionals will be abusing their constitutional rights and dehumanizing them.

The venture will also increase stigma on the disease among healthcare professionals and aid in alienating workers basing on their HIV-AIDS status. It is equally important not to have mandatory testing for individuals. Susan Schweickert (2013) in her analysis states that the hospitals are not well equipped to handle such great volumes of patients who test positive and need counseling.   The country is not also well equipped to handle the large number of patients that might turn positive. After some time the struggle to help the patient will turn into a war with the patients in terms of financing the venture by the government (Schweickert, 2013).

Mandatory testing with the current constitution will result in multiple lawsuits against the state for infringing on the right to privacy of citizens. There is a better way of combating HIV-AIDS than having mandatory testing; increased awareness is much effective compared to mandatory tests. Substance abuse among healthcare professionals/coworkers should be allowed at work. My response to this debate is NO, substance abuse should be prohibited at the workplace and even in the lives of medical professionals.

The impact of substance abuse is the alteration in the coordination of brain activities. People who take drugs often after some time become dependent on the drugs and they are unable to function independently of the drugs. The stage is called addiction, which is a disease. When medical personnel takes drugs during shift hours or when off duty it will affect their ability to make correct and well-informed decisions. Fatal errors will start to occur something that should never happen. Drugs stay in the bloodstream of a person for some time.

The effect of substance abuse during off-work hours will be the same as abusing the drug while working. The coordination of the health care professional will be affected and show a bad example to patients who are addicts.   Debra Dunn (2005) suggests that any nurse who has a problem with substance abuse should seek help. Dunn sentiments clearly discourage substance abuse among nurses and other medical practitioners. It is important for medical practitioners to win the trust of their patients. A practitioner that abuses drugs cannot achieve the trust of a patient hence rendering the practitioner’ s practice inefficient.   The patient will have problems trusting the advice of such a practitioner.

Such a case has a negative impact on the patient recovery process. The relationship of a medical practitioner who is an addict with other colleagues is subject to be affected due to mood swings and unprofessional conduct that accompany the use of stimulant substances.   Substance abuse should be avoided when working in the medical field.


Dunn, D. (2005). Substance abuse among nurses-Defining the issue. AORN Journal, 82(4), 572-596. DOI:10.1016/s0001-2092(06)60028-8

Schweickert, S. (2013, January 15). Southern Colorado AIDS Project. Retrieved October 03, 2014, from

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