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Position Statement: Communicable Diseases

Position Statement: Communicable Diseases

If indicated for their condition, patients with communicable diseases (such a hepatitis or human-immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection) shall not be denied treatment. Decisions concerning care for patients who are infected with HIV, hepatitis-B virus (HBV), resistant tuberculosis (TB), and other communicable diseases are the joint responsibility of the informed patient and their medical management team. Comprehensive medical and surgical plans should be based on careful evaluation of the relative benefits and risks for the individual patients.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) recommends all physicians be immunized against HBV. The AAO-HNS urges all providers follow CDC-recommended universal precautions during all contact with patients in order to prevent the spread of communicable diseases regardless of the specific disease.

The AAO-HNS acknowledges the view that all physicians and surgeons are ethically obliged to be aware of their own personal health status at all times and to recognize how their own health might impact the care of their patients. In the event of infection with blood-borne pathogens, providers should voluntarily limit any personal or professional activities that risk transmission to others and are entitled to the same legal protection as other infected persons. The AAO-HNS recognizes that its members must comply with local and state rules and statues in order to maintain medical licensure in all states where the providers are licensed to practice.

Adopted 9/23/1989
Reviewed 9/20/1995
Revised 9/20/1995
 Revised  3/1/1998
Reaffirmed 1/17/2007
Reaffirmed 5/6/2013
Revised 6/9/2020

Important Disclaimer Notice (Updated 7/31/14)

Position statements are approved by the American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 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. Position statements are not intended to and should not be treated as legal, medical, or business advice.