The caution on precaution

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19 Sep 2016 - General

In my local setting, it has been standard practice to put precautionary measures in patient's charts and door to remind all healthcare professionals and visitors of necessary precautionary measures. According to hospital protocol, signages of  "Universal precaution" or "Contact precaution" should be appropriately placed on medical charts and doors. However since 2-3 years ago, it has been an option not to reveal if a patient is HIV positive. Because of this option, there have been several times that healthcare providers (except for the attending) were not aware that we are examining an HIV positive patient. Not to put a social stigma, but these patients can also acquire infection from exposure to doctors, especially if we're handling infectious cases. What is your hospital protocol regarding this matter? How do you balance caring for the patient and protecting yourself from infection?