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April 1991

The HIV-Positive Health Professional: Policy Options for Individuals, Institutions, and States: Public Policy and the Public—Observations From the Front Line

Author Affiliations

Division of Infectious Diseases Director—HIV Study Group State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn Box 122 450 Clarkson Ave Brooklyn, NY 11203

Arch Intern Med. 1991;151(4):655-657. doi:10.1001/archinte.1991.00400040009002

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I was asked by Dr David Price to speak about the topic of assuring and calming a nervous public. The problem I was asked to address can be stated as follows: How can one develop a policy that (1) is scientifically rational; (2) protects the public; (3) protects the infected from discrimination; and (4) does not lead to undesirable derivative consequences, such as testing of all health care workers and patients. This charge is difficult in ordinary circumstances. The fear of acquiring human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease from a health care provider makes the task all the more difficult.

I have no answers to the question of "what should our policy be concerning HIV-infected health care workers?" I can only offer some observations and vignettes from policy debates of the past. They may provide useful guideposts for the current discussion.

My observations are influenced by past experience with the acquired

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