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November 17, 1989

Health Care Professionals and Fear of AIDS-Reply

JAMA. 1989;262(19):2680. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03430190059016

In Reply.—  Brattebø et al have missed the points central to our article and have misconstrued some of our arguments. Our intent was to explore why health care workers continue to fear acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) despite the kinds of reassurances proffered by Brattebø and to suggest ways of reducing that fear without labeling fearful people as ignorant, prejudiced, or homophobic. Some of the obvious reasons for the persistent fear of AIDS are listed by Dr Fribourg, but to view these as the only factors responsible is to oversimplify the problem.The debate over infection control provides a good example. It would be foolhardy not to support the full and consistent use of procedures to control infection as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control. But we also support recognition of the fact that infection control is not infallible. Needle sticks do happen, albeit rarely, and they do puncture gloves.