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June 1993

Human Immunodeficiency Virus Exposure Among Medical Students

Author Affiliations

St Louis, Mo

Arch Surg. 1993;128(6):710. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1993.01420180112020

The data in the article by Vergilio et al1 in the January 1993 issue of the Archives underscore the risks to medical students during their clerkships and the important role that universal precautions have in their protection. I applaud the formation of an ad hoc AIDS Committee at Cornell University Medical College (New York, NY). However, the "interesting question"1 of liability of the institution with respect to medical student injuries, as well as educating and protecting its students, are old concerns. Cornell had already learned that in 1990, 21% of its students reported being stuck by a needle with human immunodeficiency virus—contaminated blood during the third and fourth years of medical school.2 Thirty-eight percent had skin-surface contact with blood or body fluids from patients with human immunodeficiency virus infection. Seventy-four percent of the students believed that Cornell had not adequately taught them what to do in the

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