Risky Business: Setting Public Health Policy for HIV-Infected Health Care Professionals

An analysis of the restrictive proposals provoked by the case of Kimberly Bergalis and four other patients apparently infected with HIV during the course of dental treatment reveals that they resulted from an inability to evaluate appropriately the infinitesimal risk of HIV transmission from practitioner to patient. The proposals also resulted from an effort to create risk prevention policy without appreciating the distinction between regulating things or procedures, which have no human rights, and regulating people, who have rights that should not be infringed without serious justification. This analysis demonstrates that the proposed restrictive policies are not justified because they do nothing to prevent the spread of HIV, and they cause unnecessary and substantial harm to health care practitioners.

Author(s): Leonard H. Glantz; Wendy K. Mariner; George J. Annas

Download the Article

Read on JSTOR

Volume 70, Issue 1 (pages 43–79)
Published in 1992