February 1992

A National Survey of Surgeons' Attitudes About Patients With Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infections and Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Anthropology (Dr Shelley) and Surgery (Dr Howard), University of Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville.

Arch Surg. 1992;127(2):206-212. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1992.01420020092013

• We conducted a national survey to learn about surgeons' attitudes toward patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection and with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. We received 1039 (72%) responses from 1451 potential respondents. Seventy-four percent (766 of 1028) of surgeons were in favor of routine human immunodeficiency virus testing of patients, yet only 6% did so routinely and another 6% did so selectively. Most (88%) surgeons believed that patients had a right to know if their surgeon was infected with the human immunodeficiency virus and would agree to be tested if so requested by a patient. Most (72%) surgeons also believed that surgeons with the human immunodeficiency virus should have their operating privileges restricted. Only 8% knew the risk of acquiring human immunodeficiency virus infection if they sustained a percutaneous injury with contaminated blood, and only 61% were familiar with the Centers for Disease Control guidelines on universal precautions. The respondents also believed that others were "making the rules" for them while they were "taking the risks."

(Arch Surg. 1992;127:206-212)