Dentist Claims She Contracted HIV at South African Dental Clinic

Many Patients are HIV Positive, But Few Tell Their Dentists

A dentist in South Africa claims she was infected with HIV by a patient during a dental procedure, and she’s asking the government to compensate her.

The government-employed dentist, a Russian-born woman in her 60s, says she was infected during a routine root extraction at the Soshanguve Clinic in 1996.

Though she suspected that the patient was HIV positive, she did not report her puncture wound at that time. She later tested positive for HIV in an insurance exam. Her husband tested negative, and she alleges that the patient is the source of her infection.

When she brought her case to the Compensation Commissioner (CC), her claim was denied. Though the CC did not dispute that she had been injured, they pointed to the lack of any direct evidence. “It will be improper to draw an inference that she was probably infected with HIV as a result of the 1996 incident, without medical evidence relating to his (the patient’s) HIV status,” declared the CC.

But she’s appealing that decision, saying that she was unfamiliar with the CC policy declaring that all incidents must be reported right away.

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