ATLANTA -- The Centers for Disease Control stood virtually alone as it came under a barrage of criticism here yesterday for trying to develop a list of procedures that doctors and dentists infected with the AIDS virus should not perform.
More than 30 speakers representing health-care and civil rights organizations said that developing a list of "exposure prone" procedures had no scientific validity.
The speakers also said that such a list would not achieve its desired purpose of reducing transmission of the AIDS virus from infected health-care workers to patients and would be too costly.
Dr. Neil R. Schram of the American Association of Physicians for Human Rights urged a one-year moratorium for the federal centers to collect more data before issuing a list.
In issuing the guidelines last July, Dr. William L. Roper, head of the CDC, called on medical organizations to come up with a list of exposure-prone procedures and set Nov. 15 as the deadline for issuing the list.
But faced with near-unanimous opposition to the development of such a list from medical, surgical, obstetrical and dental groups, Dr. Roper left the door open for reconsidering his position.
At a news conference, Dr. Roper said his agency would debate the "strong words" voiced at the meeting that his agency sponsored here. "We are going to think very clearly and debate it," he said.
Virtually the only support for the centers' position came from the American Medical Association, which said it was standing by its efforts to develop such a list, despite the lack of support it received at a meeting in August.
At that meeting, most groups balked at developing such a list because of a lack of scientific evidence and a lack of data.
Dr. Nancy W. Dickey of the American Medical Association said she had come to the meeting to reaffirm the association's policy that doctors infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, have an ethical obligation not to engage in any professional activity that has an identifiable risk of transmitting the infection to the patient.
The federal centers has proposed two categories, one of exposure-prone procedures, and the other of procedures not considered exposure-prone.
The exposure-prone procedures include all abdominal, colon and rectal surgery; chest surgery; heart surgery; major orthopedic surgery; major gynecological surgery; Caesarean deliveries and vaginal deliveries requiring suturing, and surgery in the mouth.