Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Huckabee's beliefs based on 1991 CDC recommendations?

(note: this is part 2 of Huckabee's Christmas. If you don't read that first, you may miss the facetious, nay, dripping bitterness with which I pose these rhetorical questions as to whether there is an ounce of possibility that Huckabee might have an inch of wiggle room. While I am confident that he does not, I mean to provide evidence of that fact to you, dear reader, who may not simply wish to believe me because I say so.)

He keeps saying he didn't say quarantine, but that, of course, is what he meant.

In his not-backing-down statement, Huckabee cites

"Also in 1991 the Centers for Disease Control recommended restrictions on the practice of HIV-positive health care workers."

I started trying to remember. What year was that? What did we know then?

I mean, I remember being in an ER in Philadelphia in 1987 and yelling at a PA/Nurse to put on his gloves before he drew my blood.
He said, "What, do you think I have something?"
I said, "How do you know I don't? Aren't you just supposed to just always wear gloves?"

It was a time where those of us involved in understanding the importance of barrier protection in our own community were ahead of the medical community in some ways.

So in 1991, what were they, these restrictions Huckabee cites as a reason to support his desire to

deal with the virus using the same public health protocols that medical science and public health professionals would use with any infectious disease.

So I had to look it up. Oh yes, now I remember. There was a big broohaha about it.

But factually, it was a clear and simple set of recommendations.
They were recommendations, not requirements,
and they were about both HIV positive and Hepatitis B positive health care workers,
and the recommendations were that an HIV/HBV positive provider would not do "exposure prone" procedures without first seeking counsel.

As repeated by the American Academy of Physician's Assistants here

preventing the transmission of HBV and HIV from provider to patient during “exposure prone” procedures. According to the CDC recommendations, providers infected with HIV or HBV should not perform such procedures unless they have sought counsel from an expert review panel and been advised under what circumstances, if any, they may continue to perform these procedures. Such circumstances would include notifying prospective patients of one’s HIV status before conducting the procedure.

It was a big deal at the time -- we were afraid it was part of a slippery slope toward required testing and reporting... who would be the review panel? what would they do with information? was it medically necessary? why weren't they talking about barrier protection instead? why, if a panel said there were circumstances that a professional could do this procedure would s/he then have to reveal his/her personal HIV status?

BUT none of that matter in this moment. The question here is, was this a recommendation that would lead Huckabee to such beliefs? No, it certainly does not meet a standard that could serve as a rational indicator that Huckabee had reasonable cause to believe that HIV fit the category of infectiousness that would lead him to reasonably believe that it was still appropriate to consider

following traditional medical practices developed from our public health experience and medical science in dealing with tuberculosis and other infectious diseases.
So no, Rev. Huckabee can't use that as evidence that he reasonably believed HIV infectiousness raised to that level.

I think he just looked backward in time, tried to find some rationalization for his being nearly 10 years behind in understanding HIV, and came up with a girl who said she got HIV from a dentist, and what are, in retrospect, pretty weakass recommendations.

but that's just me.

1 comment:

Rev. Ricky said...

I worked at AIDS Project Los Angeles from 1987 until 1995 when I left for seminary. Huckabee's call for "isolation" (his word) makes no sense, then or now. We knew since 1985 that HIV was a blood borne disease not communicable through casual contact. When he says that HIV should be treated like every other infectious disease he is ignoring the fact that diseases are not all the same. People infected with the flu virus should stay home because they can infect others simply by being in the same room. There's no public health rationale for HIV positive folks to be isolated.