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October 24, 1986

Lack of Antibodies to HTLV-III/LAV in Danish Dentists

JAMA. 1986;256(16):2199. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380160057016

To the Editor.—  Dentists often work without wearing surgeon's gloves. Their hands are therefore regularly contaminated with blood and saliva from patients. Furthermore, they may inhale aerosols from patients' saliva mixed with blood. Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type III/lymphadenopathy-associated virus (HTLV-III/LAV) can be present in both blood and saliva.1,2 To determine whether this exposure represents a job-related hazard, a cross-sectional study was carried out on Danish dentists attending the Annual National Dental Association Convention, April 1985.Nine hundred sixty-one persons representing 22.9% of all Danish dentists gave blood and completed questionnaires. These 961 dentists represented 78.6% of the total number of registered dentists at the convention. Their distribution according to type of job, geography, and sex is similar to that of all Danish dentists. Of the 545 males enrolled, 18.8% were never married. All serum samples were tested for antibodies to HTLV-III/LAV by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) tests. Results