Serosurvey of human immunodeficiency virus, hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus infection among hospital-based surgeons

A. L. Panlilio, C. N. Shapiro, C. A. Schable, M. H. Mendelson, M. A. Montecalvo, L. M. Kunches, S. W. Perry, J. R. Edwards, P. U. Srivastava, D. H. Culver, I. B. Weisfuse, U. Jorde, J. M. Davis, J. Solomon, G. P. Wormser, J. Ryan, D. M. Bell, M. E. Chamberland, P. S. McKibben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Because occupational blood contact places health-care workers at risk for infection with bloodborne pathogens, we wanted to estimate the prevalence of infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and hepatitis C virus (HCV) among hospital-based surgeons and correlate the results with occupational and nonoccupational risk factors. STUDY DESIGN: All surgeons in training or in practice in general surgery, obstetrics and gynecology, or orthopedics at 21 hospitals in moderate to high AIDS incidence areas were eligible to participate in a voluntary, anonymous serosurvey. Serum samples were tested for HIV antibody, for HCV antibody, and for markers of HBV infection: hepatitis B surface antigen, total antibody to hepatitis B core antigen, and antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen. RESULTS: Of 2,887 eligible surgeons, 770 (27 percent) participated in the study. One of 740 surgeons not reporting nonoccupational risk factors was HIV seropositive (0.14 percent, upper limit 95 percent confidence interval [CI] equals 0.64 percent). None of 20 participants reporting nonoccupational HIV risk factors and none of ten not responding to the question on nonoccupational risk factors were HIV positive. Of 129 (17 percent) participants with past or current HBV infection, three (0.4 percent) had chronic HBV infection; all were negative for hepatitis B e antigen. Risk factors for HBV infection included not receiving hepatitis B vaccine (odds ratio [OR] 14.7, 95 percent CI 8.3 to 26.0) and practicing surgery at least ten years (OR 2.2, 95 percent CI 1.3 to 3.8). Seven (0.9 percent) participants had anti-HCV. CONCLUSIONS: Although not necessarily generalizable to all surgeons in moderate to high AIDS incidence areas, these results do not indicate a high rate of previously undetected HIV infection among surgeons who trained or practiced in these areas, or both. Hepatitis B virus posed the highest risk of infection with a bloodborne pathogen, followed by HCV and HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16-24
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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