SAMJ: South African Medical Journal
On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574
OBJECTIVES: The HIV status of surgeons, in the context of the informed consent obtained from their patients, is a contentious matter. We surveyed the views of practising surgeons in South Africa regarding aspects of HIV and its impact on surgeons. DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey of surgeons who were members of the Association of Surgeons of South Africa, regarding their attitudes to the preceding issues. RESULTS: The salient findings included the view that a patientcentred approach requiring HIV status disclosure to patients would be discriminatory to surgeons and provide no clear benefit to patients, and that HIV-positive surgeons should determine their own scope of practice. CONCLUSION: Patient-centred approaches and restrictive policies, related to this issue, do not accord with clinician sentiment. In the absence of comparable local or international data, this study provides clinicians' views with implications for the development of locally relevant policies and guidelines.