What Happens to your Career if you Become HIV+?

The Department of Defense Policies for assignments of HIV personnel have changed little since they were first established during the AIDS pandemic of the 1980s. There is no guarantee that these policies will remain in place as the armed forces go through personnel cutbacks. No matter what, if for some unfortunate reason you should seroconvert (HIV “seroconversion” is when a person develops anti-bodies to go from HIV- to HIV+), your career will be critically impacted:

  • If you are still a Midshipman, depending on your year, you may be allowed to finish the current academic year, and if a firstie, be allowed to graduate, but you will not be commissioned.
  • If you are a commissioned officer, you will be pulled out of your deployable unit and reassigned to stateside and assigned to commands close to a military treatment facility for the remainder of your career.
  • You might find it difficult to compete for promotion when you never deploy, compared to your peers assigned to operational commands that can and do deploy and become heroes.
  • There is no guarantee that current policies that allow you to remain on active duty will remain in place.