HIV/AIDS and the Surgeon


The HIV/AIDS disease in Kenya is currently affecting all age groups, including teens. It is important for the surgeon to appreciate the varying surgical presentations this disease has.

Strict surgical barriers must be implemented at all times to avoid spreading of the disease between the patient and the surgeon. This can be achieved through community dissemination of knowledge, individual or group counseling,knowledge skills, and use of physical barriers like double gloving, gowns, and surgical goggles.

The surgeon should have always be on the lookout for signs of possible HIV infection in the patient; these include:

  1. Wasting
  2. Enlarge nodes
  3. Skin lesions like Kaposi’s sarcoma or herpetic rash
  4. Oral and oesophageal lesions
  5. Pulmonary lesions
  6. Other gastrointestinal lesions

Counseling of both the patient and the relatives is important and an assessment of the suitability of the patient for surgery. The CD4 cell count is a useful indicator of perioperative risk.

NB:This topic is dealt with in detail in Internal Medicine, Paediactrics,and Obstetrics and Gynaecology.

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