HIV and your elective
Your risk of HIV infection might be greater, say Kieran P Nunn and colleagues, but that could make for a useful educational experience
- By: Kieran P Nunn, Lisa M S Clayton, Sue Mitchell
As you plan your elective period, one aspect that fails to escape discussion is the risk posed to yourself while away, in particular that of HIV exposure,w1 and fear may be detrimental to the experience.w2 Many medical students choose to undertake their elective in regions of relatively high HIV prevalencew3w6 and are more likely to be exposed to infectious diseases than the average traveller because of the nature of their work.w3 With careful planning, however, education about HIV/AIDS could form an integral part of the elective, leading to firsthand experience and knowledge to take into clinical practice.
Carrying out an elective in an HIV prevalent area could be beneficial, but understanding the risks and careful planning for their reduction are essential. Other infectious diseases that are ubiquitous in areas with high HIV prevalence are beyond the remit of this article but may well play a part in deciding where to