UK CAA Supports Pilots Careers with New HIV Package

Photo sourced from Getty Images

LONDON – On June 20, the United Kingdom’s aviation authority, CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) released new guidance for pilots who have HIV.

The New Package

In cooperation with the Terrence Higgins Trust, the Nationals AIDS Trust, and the British HIV Association, the UK CAA has issued a new package that will support pilots in continuing their careers even if they are diagnosed with HIV.

To enable pilots to continue to fly with HIV, the UK CAA will begin to adapt to perform medical assessments in order for British pilots to obtain and continue holding their UK licenses.

In line with this new guidance, with a timely diagnosis of HIV and antiretroviral therapy as well as reducing the need for cognitive testing, there is now a much lower risk of a pilot suffering any kind of conditions that would prevent them from flying an aircraft safely.

This new guidance also means that it will be much easier for pilots to obtain an unrestricted medical certification, also known as a Class 1, within the UK.

The new guidance will also benefit ATC (Air Traffic Controllers) which means that it will also cover a Class 3 medical certification to enable them on also continue their role and for even new controllers to join the growing force.

In support of this change, the UK CAA has announced a sixth-month period, starting from today (June 20), where any pilot or air traffic control officer who has not declared their positive HIV status can come forward, in complete confidence, to the CAA to correct their record without having to notify their employer.

As well under this new sixth-month period, no person will face enforcement action for not previously declaring their positive HIV status and the CAA’s medical team will help review their health status in line with the new guidance and correct their medical record accurately.

Leader’s Comments…

Commenting on this new guidance, the Chief Executive Officer of the UK Civil Aviation Authority, Richard Moriarty, has said, “The UK will continue to lead the way in supporting pilots living with HIV to fly safely and pursue their careers and dreams.”

“Recent medical advances mean that if someone with HIV effectively manages their condition, they should be able to live a near-normal life. Our new guidance recognizes this.”

“I want to appeal personally to anyone who has previously not declared their HIV status to contact us within the next six months so we can reset this with you in total confidence.”

Chief Executive of Terrence Higgins Trust, Ian Green, also says, “These landmark changes, removing the final barriers to people living with HIV having a full career as a commercial pilot, reflect the huge progress we’ve made in the fight against HIV over the last 40 years and mark the UK as a global leader in HIV aviation policy.”

“Outdated restrictions were holding pilots living with HIV back in their careers, but now the Civil Aviation Authority’s policies and practices will reflect the reality of living with HIV today.”

Green continued, “These changes will immediately benefit pilots who can now share that they are living with HIV without any negative impact on their career.”

“While the shift also sends a clear message to the general public that HIV has changed and a diagnosis doesn’t have to stop anyone from fulfilling their dreams and goals as a commercial pilot or anything else.”

Chair of the British HIV Association, Laura Waters, also says, “Pilots should be judged on their ability to fly planes, not whether or not they are living with HIV.”

“We will never overcome the unacceptable stigma that still faces people living with HIV if national bodies fail to follow the science – well done to the Civil Aviation Authority for doing just that.”

“Where the Civil Aviation Authority leads in recognizing people with HIV can live normal lives, may other aviation organizations, and other key UK bodies follow!”

Chief Executive of National AIDS Trust, Deborah Gold, says, “We are delighted the Civil Aviation Authority has listened to our concerns and pilots can now declare their HIV status without it getting in the way of their job.”

“HIV is now a manageable long-term health condition and people with HIV can live long and healthy lives.”

“There is no medical reason why HIV should stand in the way of any job, including flying planes, and it’s great to see UK aviation industry policy recognizing this.”

“Today’s announcement brings us one step closer to a world where HIV stigma doesn’t hold anyone back from living the life they choose.”

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