Routine Preoperative Screening for HIV
Hagen, Michael D.
Meyer, Klemens B.
Pauker, Stephen G.
JAMA. 1988 Mar 4; 259(9): 1357-1359.
The authors examine data on the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in various low- and high-risk populations and in surgical personnel. They conclude that the risk of HIV infection to surgeons, nurses, and technicians using barrier precautions is of the same order of magnitude as the risk to sexual participants who use barrier precautions. Further, the authors assert that routine preoperative screening could be even more socially destructive than screening the general population because privacy will be more seriously compromised and because the occurrence of false-positive tests is probably higher in chronically ill patients than in healthy persons. They question whether it is rational or ethical to imply that preventing HIV infection in surgical personnel is more important than preventing such infection in others. (KIE abstract)
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