Three government health advisory bodies are considering the ban, which currently prevents HIV-positive workers from carrying out “exposure prone procedures”, where there is a danger of cross-infection from medical staff to patients.

The rule currently applies to people working in surgery, dentistry and specialist nursing, plus obstetrics and gynaecology.

The announcement has been welcomed by campaigners and Aids charities, who say advancements in HIV therapy drugs makes it easier for people to undertake such clinical roles.

Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said “advances in testing technologies and treatment” and “high levels of infection control” supported calls for change.

A DoH spokesperson said: “The vast majority of nursing and medical duties do not pose any risk of HIV infection to patients provided standard infection control measures are taken.

“There is a very low risk of transmission of HIV from an infected healthcare worker to patient during certain exposure prone procedures. Department of Health guidance recommends that healthcare workers infected with HIV do not undertake these procedures.”

This guidance is currently being reviewed by the UK Advisory Panel for Healthcare Workers Infected with Blood-borne Viruses (UKAP), the Advisory Group on Hepatitis and the Expert Advisory Group on Aids.