Low occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection among dental professionals

R. S. Klein, J. A. Phelan, K. Freeman, C. Schable, G. H. Friedland, N. Trieger, N. H. Steigbigel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We studied 1309 dental professionals (1132 dentists, 131 hygienists, and 46 assistants) without behavioral risk factors for the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) to determine their occupational risk for infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Subjects completed questionnaires on behavior; type, duration and location of their dental practice; infection-control practices; and estimated numbers of potential occupational exposures to HIV. Serum samples were tested for antibodies to HIV and hepatitis B surface antigen (unvaccinated subjects). Fifty-one percent of the subjects practices in locations where many cases of AIDS have been reported. Seventy-two percent treated patients who had AIDS or were at increased risk for it. Ninety-four percent reported accidental puncturing of the skin with instruments used in treating patients. Adherence to recommended infection-control practices was infrequent. Twenty-one percent of unvaccinated subjects had antibodies to hepatitis B surface antigen. Only one dentist without a history of behavioral risk factors for AIDS had serum antibodies to HIV. We conclude that despite infrequent compliance with recommended infection-control precautions, frequent occupational exposure to persons at increased risk for HIV infection, and frequent accidental puncturing of the skin with sharp instruments, dental professionals are at low occupational risk for HIV infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)86-90
Number of pages5
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Volume318
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1988

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Virus Diseases
Tooth
HIV
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Infection Control
Occupational Exposure
Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
Dentists
Antibodies
Dental Instruments
Skin
Serum
Infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Klein, R. S., Phelan, J. A., Freeman, K., Schable, C., Friedland, G. H., Trieger, N., & Steigbigel, N. H. (1988). Low occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection among dental professionals. New England Journal of Medicine, 318(2), 86-90.

Low occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection among dental professionals. / Klein, R. S.; Phelan, J. A.; Freeman, K.; Schable, C.; Friedland, G. H.; Trieger, N.; Steigbigel, N. H.

In: New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 318, No. 2, 1988, p. 86-90.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Klein, RS, Phelan, JA, Freeman, K, Schable, C, Friedland, GH, Trieger, N & Steigbigel, NH 1988, 'Low occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection among dental professionals', New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 318, no. 2, pp. 86-90.
Klein RS, Phelan JA, Freeman K, Schable C, Friedland GH, Trieger N et al. Low occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection among dental professionals. New England Journal of Medicine. 1988;318(2):86-90.
Klein, R. S. ; Phelan, J. A. ; Freeman, K. ; Schable, C. ; Friedland, G. H. ; Trieger, N. ; Steigbigel, N. H. / Low occupational risk of human immunodeficiency virus infection among dental professionals. In: New England Journal of Medicine. 1988 ; Vol. 318, No. 2. pp. 86-90.
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