Is it a bad idea to specialize in ID if I'm immunocompromised?

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Feb 24, 2016
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I'm an MSTP student near the end of my PhD and am thinking about medical specialties, right now I'm considering pathology or IM --> hem/onc. But after some recent talks that have sparked my interest, I am beginning to wonder if Infectious Disease could also be a good fit for me. The only issue is that I myself am immunocompromised (common variable immunodeficiency.) My symptoms are not super bad and I recently started treatment for it, but I still wonder if it's a bad idea to deliberately expose myself to a bunch of, well, infectious diseases. I know that docs wear PPE when seeing patients with contagious diseases but does anyone think there is still a significant risk? Obviously I'm going to shadow ID docs, think more about it, maybe do an elective, etc. It's more of just wondering if I should even consider this specialty.

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I honestly think this is a question for your treating team and will likely depend on how immunocompromised you personally are once you are on treatment.
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Not really. Most of the long term ID patients have things like HIV which you won’t get from normal contact. The riskiest stuff for most infectious things are procedures for blood exposure and intubation/vents for any airborne illness. ID do none of this. The riskiest thing they do is not wash their hands after seeing a patient which is like a Cardinal sin for them or something.
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