Attitude and the Terrence Higgins Trust to host discussion on 'landmark changes' for HIV+ pilots

Dr. Ranj Singh will be joined by the trailblazing pilot, James Bushe, in the discussion on what impact recent changes will have.


Words: Alastair James; pictures: Provided

Following landmark changes for HIV-positive pilots announced last week Attitude and the Terrence Higgins Trust will be hosting a discussion on what impact this will have on the aviation industry.

Taking to Instagram live on Friday 1 July at 7 pm will be TV presenter and Attitude columnist Dr. Ranj Singh along with the trailblazing pilot, James Bushe, who helped spearhead the campaign. 

"Globally significant"

On 20 June it was announced by the UK's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) that going forward:

- All HIV-positive pilots will have no restrictions on working and will be able to work towards any pilot role in the aviation industry.

- Updated guidance is being issued on what is expected of pilots and pathways to obtaining a licence. It has been written in conjunction with the British HIV Association.

- An end to mandatory neuro-psychometric testing for pilots living with HIV.

- Pilots who retrospectively disclose to the CAA their HIV status over the next six months, which is hoped to reset relationships and create a more supportive regulator. 

Commenting on the announcement James Bushe, who in 2020 became the first newly-qualified pilot in Europe living with HIV, "the sky is the limit". 

"It really does because it means there is no job within this industry that I or any other pilot can't do. And what I hope now is that this inspires other individuals living in other countries with HIV to go to their own regulator and say 'Hey, we can do this too'."

Writing on the Terrence Higgins Trust website following last week's announcement, Debbie Laycock from the charity says: "Pilots living with HIV now have clarity on the career route open to them and have confidence that the medical system they are a part of is based on the most up-to-date evidence on HIV."

She adds that the CAA has taken action on all the concerns raised in discussions regarding these changes, which she hails as "globally significant". 

Thanking those involved in enacting these changes Debbie turns to the pilots living with HIV praising "their courage to come forward and share their experiences – and their resolve to improve the experiences of other pilots living with HIV – is inspiring and already having an impact on the lives of others."

Finally, she says, "There is no place for HIV discrimination and out-of-date ideas about HIV. People living with HIV should not be held back by their HIV status. These changes reflect yet another barrier overcome."

James will be joining Dr. Ranj in a discussion hosted by Attitude and the Terrence Higgins Trust on Instagram on Friday 1 July at 7 pm.

The Attitude July/August issue is out now.