1,800 veterans exposed to AIDS during dental exam

1,800 veterans exposed to AIDS during dental exam

St. Louis American
July 30, 2010

The Veteran’s Administration today released the latest results of tests taken by dental patients at the John Cochran VA Hospital in St. Louis. As of July 28, the VA confirms two positive results for Hepatitis B and two positive results for Hepatitis C. The data was presented at a Congressional hearing this morning.

Late last month, the VA reported 1,812 patients may have been exposed to Hep B, Hep C and HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, due to improper sterilization methods at its Cochran dental clinic. An inspection revealed the procedure was in place for a little over a year at the facility.

The VA said it notified 1,769 veterans about the issue, and is working with homeless coordinators to reach Veterans with no known home address.

The VA said 1,598 responded to the disclosure by calling for an appointment for testing. Some vets opted to have their blood drawn by a private lab of their choosing at the VA’s expense. The VA reported 13 vets declined testing or an appointment.

The may or may not be related to dental equipment issues at the Cochran clinic. The VA said it is performing more extensive testing to determine the time period and possible source of the infections.

The VA said it will provide all related health care at no cost to the infected veterans.

11,000 veterans may have been mistakenly infected with AIDS during colonoscopies