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February 12, 1992

HIV-Infected Surgeons

Author Affiliations

Rochester, Minn

JAMA. 1992;267(6):805. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480060049019

To the Editor.  —Dr Orentlicher1 provides an excellent overview of the issues involved in the case of "HIV-Infected Surgeons: Behringer v Medical Center." However, mandatory HIV testing of surgeons or any group of health care workers done on a population with a prevalence similar to the one given in the article (0.25% or 25/10 000) would be done only once. The rate of disease in the second and future HIV testing periods would be only those who had seroconverted since the last testing episode and the people previously testing false-negative. It would make no sense to continue testing those known to be HIV positive.While I am unaware of any published estimates of yearly rate of seroconversion in surgeons, the seroconversion rate in active military health care personnel has been estimated to be six per 100 000 people per year.2 Mandatory testing on a large population with this