How to Become an Infectious Disease Physician

What Do Infectious Disease Physicians Do?

Doctor consulting senior woman in hospital bed
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An infectious disease physician is an internist who completes additional training in infectious disease prevention and treatment.

Infectious diseases are illnesses that are passed from person to person, as opposed to being contracted genetically or environmentally. One of the most common examples of infectious diseases is influenza (flu). Infectious diseases include sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as HIV/AIDS.

Most infectious disease physicians are hospital based, or they can also see patients in a clinic or outpatient setting. Infectious disease specialists help to identify and manage patients who have been infected. They also assist in the tracking and reporting of the spread of infectious diseases by maintaining close contact with public health professionals from the CDC and other public health organizations.

In order to become an infectious disease physician, one must first complete the process of becoming an internal medicine physician, or internist.​​

An internist may then complete an additional fellowship training program (2-3 years in length) in infectious disease and become board-certified in infectious disease in addition to being board-certified in internal medicine.

According to the AMA’s website, there are 144 infectious disease fellowship programs nationwide.

Some infectious disease physicians may also choose to sub-specialize even further, focusing on one particular disease or type of infectious disease, such as HIV/AIDS.

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