Doctors, nurses, dentists: Why no risk from HIV?
Posted by Henry Bauer on 2010/02/17
The assertion that AIDS is caused by an infectious agent brought widespread panic, as anyone with memories of the 1980s can testify. As soon as HIV tests became available, everyone entering a hospital was asked to give “informed consent” to be tested. Teenagers were advised to get their prospective partners tested before having sex. Dentists started to wear masks and to put on new gloves in demonstrative fashion with each new patient. Police had themselves tested if any body fluids from another person came into contact with them, and some people were arrested and charged with attempting to infect others through spitting on them.
Eventually it was recognized that toilet seats were not a transmission route for HIV, and that the risk of contracting HIV via saliva — kissing, oral sex — was negligible. Those facts were not broadcast as continuously and intensively as the initial panicky warnings, though, so even now there are people who believe that “HIV” is readily acquired by almost any contact with almost anything from an “HIV-positive” individual.
Naturally, then, doctors and nurses were regarded as being at high risk from accidental contact with contaminated blood or other fluids, and there were occasional reports of apparent infection of healthcare workers, for example through accidental needle-stick. However, over the years and decades it became clear that doctors, nurses, medical orderlies, etc., are NOT at any perceivable risk of acquiring “HIV” — see sources cited at pp. 47-8 in The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory. What remains are “urban legends” that will not die, like “the Florida dentist” who supposedly infected 5 of his patients, notably Kimberley Bergalis who subsequently died. In point of fact, that particular story has been thoroughly debunked by, for example, Root-Bernstein (pp. 46-7, 314-5 in Rethinking AIDS, 1993) and Stephen Barr (“Perspective: The 1990 Florida dental investigation: is the case really closed?”, Annals of Internal Medicine 124  250-4). Bergalis died in a few short years of treatment with high-dosage AZT.
I was just alerted to an article I had not known about before, recalling in 2004 that dentists, too, have been found to be at no occupational risk of catching “HIV” or “AIDS” — E. J. Neiburger (Director, Center for Dental AIDS Research), “Dentists do not get occupational AIDS: An open letter to the profession — an evidence-based study on the AIDS epidemic in dentistry”, Journal of the American Association of Forensic Dentists, 26, #1-3, 2004:
“There are [not] (and never have been) any documented cases of dental workers getting occupational HIV/AIDS. (1, 2).”
(1) CDC. Health care workers with documented and possible occupationally acquired AIDS/HIV infection, by occupation, reported through June 2000, United States. HIV/AIDS Surveillance Report 2001;12(1):24.
(2) Department of Labor-OSHA. Occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens: final rule. Federal Register 1991;57 (235):64005-64157.
Incidentally Neiburger cites examples of how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) exaggerates HIV/AIDS numbers, and he discusses CDC’s badly flawed actions concerning “the Florida dentist”. He points out that CDC likes to focus on the 25-44 age group because that’s where HIV/AIDS numbers and percentages are highest — remember that EVERYTHING about “HIV” and “AIDS” is at a maximum in that age range: age of first “HIV infection”, of first “HIV” test, of first “AIDS” diagnosis, and of deaths from “AIDS” or “HIV disease”. There’s no sign of the alleged latent period of a decade between “infection” and illness; and unlike any other disease, let alone an infectious one, let alone a sexually transmitted one, HIV/AIDS affects maximally adults in the prime years of life — “Incongruous age distributions of HIV infections and deaths from HIV disease: Where is the latent period between HIV infection and AIDS?”, Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 13  77-81; “No HIV ‘latent period’: dotting i’s and crossing t’s”, 21 September 2008; “HAART saves lives — but doesn’t prolong them!?”, 17 September 2008; “How ‘AIDS deaths’ and ‘HIV infections’ vary with age — and WHY”, 15 September 2008. Older people are less able to withstand any sort of stress, so death rates increase with age — except with “HIV/AIDS” (Table 1, “Age shall not wither them — because HIV really doesn’t kill”, 4 February 2009). Sexually transmitted infections are most common in teenagers and young adults.
The Neiburger article also cites interesting studies of how commonly people lie when asked about high-risk behavior. It mentions false-positive “HIV” tests but cites only a tiny portion of the supporting material. There are a few careless errors, like 1944 for a 1994 reference or Secretary Shalala instead of Secretary Heckler. But the meat of the piece, fully source-documented, is a deconstruction of the 7 cases mentioned by CDC as “’possible’ occupational HIV/AIDS transmission”. Overall, it’s evident that the designation “possible” should really have been “could not be ruled out”, because there were no positive data supporting transmission, just the observation that the dentists were “HIV-positive” in absence of definitively known personal risk factors.
In sum: There is not a single demonstrated case of a dental worker infected occupationally with “HIV”.
That does not prevent “researchers” from asserting, though, that “HIV transmission in the dental care setting continues to be of concern”. In an article published 2 years after Neiburger’s, Scully & Greenspan (Journal of Dental Research, 85  794) make that assertion and cite Neiburger only for his mention of two “possible” cases, without telling readers of his deconstruction of those two cases. Further, Scully & Greenspan discuss “the Florida dentist” without even mentioning Barr or Root-Bernstein and their deconstructions, and Scully & Greenspan refer to “genetic similarity” as supporting evidence of transmission even though Barr had discovered, based on publications in Nature, “potentially serious flaws in the phylogenetic analyses used by the CDC to conclude that the dentist and his patients had the same strain of HIV”.
Here we have yet another example of a “peer-reviewed” publication that fails to mention centrally important prior publications. It is not overly cynical, I suggest, not in any way unfaithful to the facts, to recognize that any manuscript about HIV/AIDS whose conclusions fit the mainstream view of an ever-present danger will receive merely cursory “peer review” and approval, while manuscripts questioning the mainstream view are rejected irrespective of their substantive claims. Thus Duesberg has tried to point out that the Statistician General of South Africa has discussed in detail why the official count of about ~15,000 AIDS deaths per year is likely to be accurate within some tens of percent and why the estimates made by the Medical Research Council and UNAIDS of >300,000 is unacceptable; yet JAIDS, which published a political diatribe accusing President Mbeki , and by implication Duesberg, of guilt for some of those “300,000” deaths, refused to publish Duesberg’s correction, and in rejecting it did not even mention the official count of ~15,000 or the Statistician General’s published support for it, let alone argue why they should be ignored.
Bad as all that is, it’s still a subsidiary point compared to the mountain of evidence that “HIV” is not a transmissible infectious agent, illustrated for example by the fact that healthcare workers are at no occupational risk of acquiring “HIV”.
(Of course, the condition of “HIV-positive” may occasionally be contagious, in those circumstances where “HIV-positive” stems from a false-positive “HIV” test occasioned by such infectious agents as Epstein-Barr virus, flu, hepatitis, herpes, syphilis, or others that have been reported to cross-react on “HIV” tests.)