Why HIV Shouldn’t Restrict Your Right To A Hair Transplant
4th November 2009
I was interested to read about 28-year-old Diego Del Rio from Florida, who was refused hair transplant surgery because he was HIV positive. A topic like this has understandably generated a lot of debate; the HIV virus is one of those taboo subjects that will never fail to get people talking and, generally, you don’t see many people sitting on the fence.
From a surgeon’s point of view, there are no real reasons not to go ahead with the procedure, if the patient is HIV positive as opposed to diagnosed with AIDS. The fear around HIV is more of the potential risk of contraction of the virus or other diseases. With universal precaution, however, the risk to the surgeon and surgical staff is very minimal.
When it comes to the patient you could argue that yes, the procedure does pose additional risks to them if the infected patient is suffering from aids; after all, by definition of the virus, their immune system is already compromised. For example, a simple infection secondary to surgery could ultimately lead to a more serious one. But as long as both patient and surgeon are aware of the risks surrounding the procedure, I think it’s important to welcome patients with different medical conditions.
HIV is no longer the disease it was ten or twenty years ago. People are living with HIV and do so for many years. I see no reason why Mr Del Rio and hundreds of others like him should be denied the opportunities that everyone else is entitled to. As long as he understands the potential risks, the decision should be his.