Originally Posted by FutureCTDoc
Why? If it's an elective why not? The culture of self-sacrifice in medicine is obscene, if someone feels that they can't treat the patient or would be uncomfortable doing so, it is better that they appropriately refer it.
it's not as much of a "self-sacrifice" as you imagine to operate on an HIV positive patient. as other posters have alluded to, you should be wearing PPE barriers at all times with all patients. if you do get a needlestick, the number I always hear is that you have 0.3% chance of seroconverting IF it's a hollow core needle (ie not a suture needle) and IF the patient is viremic (usually not the case if someone is on appropriate HAART). the number is much much lower if those two conditions are not met. there's also standard protocols for starting anti-HIV therapy as prophylaxis if you get a stick.