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December 19, 1986

Risk of AIDS to Health Care Workers

JAMA. 1986;256(23):3264-3265. doi:10.1001/jama.1986.03380230088034

Concern for the safety of health care workers arose early in the course of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epidemic. On Nov 5, 1982, the Centers for Disease Control published detailed recommendations for the protection of clinical and laboratory workers,1 based on epidemiologic analysis of the few hundred cases then reported. Indeed, the first report of AIDS in a health care worker not known to belong to a risk group did not appear for another eight months,2 identification of the causative agent was a year away, and more than two years would pass before a test for antibody to the virus was commercially available. That those original recommendations remain pertinent today is testimony to the power of careful epidemiologic investigation. In this issue of The Journal, Lifson and colleagues3 further explore the risk of AIDS among health care workers through analysis of national surveillance data.

The evaluation