The HIV-positive dentist: balancing the rights of the health care worker and the patient

Gardam, Michael A.; Flanagan, William F.; Salit, Irving E.
June 2001
CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal;6/12/2001, Vol. 164 Issue 12, p1715
Academic Journal
We describe a hypothetical case of an HIV-positive dentist without cognitive impairment who uses proper infection control procedures. The dentist's physician notifies the medical officer of health without the dentist's consent. Although HIV-positive health care workers, including dentists, have been identified in the past, proven HIV transmission to patients is very rare. Most authorities recommend that an HIV-positive health care worker be monitored by an expert panel, which could then, if necessary, refer to the regulatory body to revoke or restrict the person's licence to practice. Mandatory HIV testing is not required for health care workers because they generally do not pose a risk for infecting their patients; they are, however, ethically and legally obligated to report their HIV status to their profession's regulatory body.


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