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Israeli HIV+ surgeon cleared to work
A cardiothoracic surgeon in Israel specializing in open-heart procedures was found to be HIV-positive in January 2007 during evaluation for fever of recent onset, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.1 Of 1,669 patients identified in a look-back study that went back 10 years, 545 (33%) underwent serologic testing for HIV antibody. All results were negative.
A review panel recommended allowing the resumption of work, with no restrictions on the types of procedures the surgeon could perform, provided the surgeon followed infection control practices, had routine medical follow-up and adhered to an antiretroviral regimen.
The CDC suggests that policy revisions should be reconsidered for HIV-infected providers who perform invasive procedures, particularly the issue of informing patients of their infection. Formed in the wake of the 1991 Florida HIV dental case, those policies were written before the current regimen of HIV drugs - which can suppress the virus and possibly lower the risk of transmission - were available.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Investigation of patients treated by an HIV-infected cardiothoracic surgeon - Israel, 2007. MMWR 2009; 57(53):1,413-1,415.