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Response To Another Readers Post
Jun 12, 2006

Dr. Daar, I would really like to hear your opinion about my letter regarding the man who wrote you June 10th about his wife being positive possibly from having dental work done. Please do not think me ignorant, but it is alarming that he and his wife were told that that is how she most likely had gotten it. Now, do you think having dental work is putting one's self at risk for Hiv? I thought it was suppose to be very safe. I do not want to have to worry about it when I go to the dentist. Thanks.


Response from Dr. Daar

I can not speak to the specifics surrounding the case you describe, nor the evidence supporting transmission occuring in a dental office. As far as I am aware there is one isolated situation where it was thought that a patient was exposed to HIV in a dental office. The circumstances sourrounding what might have occurred in that office, if indeed transmission did occur, remains unknown. More importantly, since that case similar episodes have been explored in other medical settings. Despite enormous look back studies I am not aware of any other cases in which HIV transmission was is believed to have occurred in the healthcare setting. I believe that people can be confident that appropriate sterilization techniques are being used in dental offices, as well as those of other healthcare professionals, to prevent transmission of HIV or other bloodborne pathogens (such as hepatitis B or C).

For what it is worth, my entire family and I go to a dentist regularly and do not worry about this issue. Best, Eric

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