Medical workers and civil rights advocates on Friday spoke out against the Centers for Disease Control's consideration of a plan to test doctors and dentists for AIDS.
"CDC has served to create the impression of a great risk," David Barr of the Gay Men's Health Crisis said. "The risk is very small."Barr spoke during the second of two days of hearings the CDC called after the disclosure that a Florida dentist apparently infected three patients with AIDS. Dr. David Acer has since died of the disease.
The federal agency is considering recommending AIDS testing for medical workers such as dentists and surgeons.
For the second day in a row, doctors and civil liberties advocates argued that the risk of contracting AIDS from surgeons and dentists is so small that mandatory testing is not warranted.
The American Medical Association and the American Dental Association responded to the disclosure last month by recommending that AIDS-infected practitioners notify their patients or give up surgery.
The CDC was once again criticized for a draft report by its researchers that estimated between 13 and 128 Americans have been infected with AIDS by dentists or surgeons.
The report estimated the risk of AIDS to patients of infected dentists as somewhere between 1 in 263,000 and 1 in 2.6 million patients. For patients of infected surgeons, the estimated risk is from 1 in 42,000 to 1 in 417,000.
Several speakers expressed concern that removing infected physicians from practice could further weaken a health-care system already struggling to care for AIDS patients.