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The HIV-Infected Surgeon

Frank S. Rhame, MD
JAMA. 1990;264(4):507-508. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450040103040.
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There are probably hundreds of practicing surgeons in the United States who are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 1987, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimated there were 625 000 to 1 million HIV-infected homosexual or bisexual men in the United States.1 These cases are prevalent among approximately 70 million men in the United States between the ages of 20 and 64 years, projecting to approximately one HIV infection in every 100 young and middle-aged men in the United States. As of January 1, 1988, there were more than 120 000 male physicians providing patient care in surgical specialities.2 Applying the national HIV infection proportion to US male surgeons is, of course, speculative; however, the proportion of male surgeons in the United States who have become HIV infected from unprotected male-to-male sex would have to be less than one-fifth the projected national proportion for there


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