Being HIV positive or taking preventive treatment for the disease will no longer be a hindrance to serving in the armed forces, the Defense Ministry has announced.
In an announcement on the occasion of World AIDS Day, ministers have said that candidates taking drugs to prevent HIV infection will be accepted to join the military, while personnel with HIV positive will be allowed to take part in operations. .
Defense Minister Leo Docherty said: “Drug treatment has revolutionized the lives and outcomes of people living with HIV.
I am glad that an exciting and satisfying career in the Armed Forces is now open to many more
“As a modern and inclusive employer, it is fitting that we recognize and act on the latest scientific evidence.
“I am delighted that an exciting and satisfying career in the armed forces is now open to many more.”
As part of the changes, starting Wednesday, people who do not have HIV but who are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medication to prevent potential infection, will be able to join the armed forces without restriction and can serve Will be able
Officials said “urgent work” is also underway to allow candidates with HIV but on treatment and those whose blood tests show no detectable virus to join as well.
Historically, the military has not allowed candidates to join those taking regular drugs, citing “logistical burden”.
However, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) said that the change would equate the use of PrEP to taking contraception, meaning it would not be a hindrance and consequently there is no implication of discouraging the use of the drug.
It is an important day that shows how far we have come in the fight against HIV
Meanwhile, in reforms to come during the spring, serving personnel diagnosed with HIV will be considered fully fit for operations when their blood tests show no detectable virus. Support for them to access suppressive treatment will also continue.
Under the current policy, people with HIV are not able to join the armed forces, and anyone diagnosed with the virus while serving is no longer considered “completely fit” and unable to deploy on certain tasks as a result. Huh.
Ian Green, chief executive of the Terence Higgins Trust, called it the “right decision” and said there was “no reason” why people with HIV should not have the opportunity to serve.
The sexual health charity Boss said: “This is an important day that shows how far we have come in the fight against HIV.
“This is absolutely the right decision and there is no reason why people living with HIV should not serve in our armed forces.
“It is vital that all medical advances made in HIV are reflected in our rules and regulations, with the armed forces clearly evident to date.
“These changes must now be implemented immediately.
“Many would be surprised to learn that this ban was still in place and that removing it would mean a huge sum for people living with HIV who want to join the military or are already serving.”