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February 12, 1992

HIV-Infected Surgeons-Reply

Author Affiliations

American Medical Association Chicago, Ill

JAMA. 1992;267(6):805. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03480060049020

In Reply.  —Burget et al emphasize an important point—improvements in surgical technique may be able to eliminate much of the risk of HIV transmission from surgeon to patient. As they suggest, the profession's efforts should be focused on developing and implementing such improvements. The possibility of percutaneous injuries from wires and sharp bone edges will still exist, but changes in surgical technique could make the risk of transmission insignificant.As Halevy observes, the 1987 statement of the Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (published in 1988)1 has incorrectly been interpreted as urging a "no-risk" standard. The language of the statement may not have been sufficiently clear; that is one reason why subsequent policy statements, in 1989,2 1990,3 and 1991 ("AMA Statement on HIV-Infected Physicians," press release, January 17, 1991), have clarified the AMA's position as one of "significant," or "identifiable" risk. The Council has always recognized that