Communicable Diseases

Treatment should not be denied to patients with communicable diseases if indicated for their condition. Decisions about surgical care for patients who are infected with HIV, HBV, resistant TB and other communicable diseases are the joint responsibility of the informed patient and the medical management team and should be based on careful evaluation of the relative benefits and risks for the individual patient.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head And Neck Surgery, Inc. recommends that all physicians be immunized against hepatitis B. The Academy urges that all physicians use CDC-recommended universal precautions in all contacts with patients, regardless of whether HIV or HBV status has been tested.

The Academy recognizes the view that all physicians and surgeons are ethically required to know their personal health status at all times and to recognize how their own health might impact on the care of their patients. In the event of becoming infected with HIV or HBV, physicians and surgeons should voluntarily limit any personal or professional activities which might risk transmission to others and should otherwise be entitled to the same legal protection as other infected persons.

Adopted 9/23/1989
Reviewed 9/20/1995
Revised 9/20/1995
Submitted for Review 3/1/1998
Revised and Reaffirmed 3/1/1998
Reaffirmed 1/17/2007
Reaffirmed 5/6/2013


Important Disclaimer Notice

Position statements are approved by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery, Inc. or Foundation (AAO-HNS/F) Boards of Directors and are typically generated from AAO-HNS/F committees. Once approved by the Academy or Foundation Board of Directors, they become official position statements and are added to the existing position statement library. In no sense do they represent a standard of care. The applicability of position statements, as guidance for a procedure, must be determined by the responsible physician in light of all the circumstances presented by the individual patient. Adherence to these clinical position statements will not ensure successful treatment in every situation. As with all AAO-HNS/F guidance, this position statement should not be deemed inclusive of all proper treatment decisions or methods of care, nor exclusive of other treatment decisions or methods of care reasonably directed to obtaining the same results.

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