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May 9, 1990

Even 'In Perspective,' HIV Specter Haunts Health Care Workers Most

JAMA. 1990;263(18):2413-2420. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03440180009001

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WORK HARDER at preventing a blood-borne disease for which potential protection is being largely ignored, worry less about getting one that is proving to be transmitted relatively seldom in hospitals—but don't let down your guard for a minute.

This is the burden of advice from physicians on the front line against the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, presented at the first Hopkins Conference on AIDS, put on last month in Baltimore, Md, by The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions.

During a discussion of relative risk for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection in health care workers, David Henderson, MD, associate director of the Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center at the National Institutes of Health, drew a comparison between hepatitis B and HIV infection. He said, "If you have 1000 exposures to somebody who is antigen-positive for hepatitis B, you will have 270 to 430 infections and certainly 3 to 5 of those individuals will