Getting an RN certification if you're HIV positive?

  1. I'm a very healthy guy who happens to be HIV positive, and I'm hoping someone can help me out by answering a couple of questions, please: 1) Can I get into an RN program to advance my career, or are there entry forms at many (most?) college nursing programs that a) ask you to disclose your HIV status, or b) indicate that you can't qualify as a nursing student in the program if you're HIV positive? 2) Are your employment opportunities restricted if you're an HIV positive RN?

    Again, I'm very healthy, have a normal CD4 count, and take meds, which make my viral load undetectable. I'm fully aware that the undetectability does not mean that the virus is gone; it's simply not detectable because of the drug. I would never deny, if asked point blank by a school administrator or on an entry form, that I have HIV. But I have also been taking prerequisite classes to get into nursing school and want to tackle this potential hurdle prior to applying. If anyone has any experience with a situation like mine, or has any information to share, I would be grateful to hear back from you. Thank you!
  2. Visit atahualpa67 profile page

    About atahualpa67

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 2


  3. by   RhondaIndyRN
    That is a very interesting question. Have you tried looking on college websites to see if they have a downloadable health form for nursing students? You may try there first.

    Good Luck to you!

  4. by   wannabanrnin2012
    I found this thread:

    One of the posters on it said that he was HIV+, and was still able to work as a nurse. It may be different depending on which state you're in though. So, if I were you, I would contact the nursing office where you're hoping to get in and just ask them directly. Try not to give them your name, though, if it can be helped.
  5. by   atahualpa67
    Thank you both! I'm in Indiana. I'll pester the admin office and look at the school's website to see if the application has any boilerplate language regarding this issue. Thanks again. I appreciate your replies.
  6. by   my2girlskk
    You won't have to disclose your status to get into a program. Once you're in, though, you'll need a physical so it will come up then. But as long as a doctor clears you, I don't think they can discriminate. We use universal precautions not only to protect ourselves, but also our patients. I work in a huge health care company in indiana and I know there are employees who are hiv pos. I think it should all work out. Good luck!
  7. by   CJMR
    I'm about to graduate and I've never once been asked in person or on paper if I have HIV. In my physical they were concerned with TB, hepatitis, and vaccines (MMR, Tdap, influenza).
  8. by   daniam25
    I am an RN with an MSN and have had HIV for 10 years. HIV has absolutely nothing to do with your ability to function as an RN. Go for it. Would diabetes prevent you from becoming an RN? Absolutely not.
  9. by   samjwm8309
    Hi atahualpa67! I know it's been several years since your post about considering starting nursing school. I just happened to stumble across your post as I was also looking for information regarding HIV+ nurses. I'm just finishing up nursing school and I am terrified and not sure if I made the right choice as I was born HIV+. So I'm just wondering now that it's 2017 how your journey has been and if you were able to follow through with nursing school.
  10. by   samjwm8309
    Hi daniam25! I admire your boldness and confidence!! I was born HIV+ and I will be graduating from nursing school in 3 weeks....and I am absolutely terrified and not sure if I made the right choice. I see that you have experience in ER and ICU which are 2 specialties that I was considering, but not sure if I have the guts to work in due to my status....or in any area dealing with needles for that matter. It was really one of those things where I was told that I should not be a nurse, but that made me want to be one more than ever. And now, here I am and I'm wondering if maybe I should've listened. Any advice?
    Last edit by samjwm8309 on Apr 7, '17