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July 25, 1990

Physicians and the Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome-Reply

Author Affiliations

University of California School of Dentistry San Francisco

University of California School of Dentistry San Francisco

JAMA. 1990;264(4):453. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450040040017

In Reply.—  The "common sense" that Dr Smith attributes to the public's opinion as reported in our article is a dangerous guide for public policy. Just a few years ago, this same public opinion believed that acquired immunodeficiency syndrome was acquired like the common cold, through casual contact, and many people were prepared to impose quarantine and other restrictions on people with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.1 Ongoing scientific evaluation of the hazards posed by HIV-infected health care workers should be the main basis of policy in this area. Our purpose in publishing data on the concern some members of the public have about this issue was to demonstrate to physicians and policymakers that the public's perception of risk may differ from theirs and to remind them that in formulating policy about HIV-infected health care workers it is necessary to take into account the views of all stakeholders, including patients.We