Surgery center may have exposed patients to HIV, hepatitis for months
SADDLE BROOK — Patients of the Health Plus Surgery Center who had procedures this year could have been exposed to HIV or hepatitis, the state Department of Health warns.The department confirmed Monday patients at Health Plus who had procedures between January and Sept. 7 of this year were at risk of exposure. It said the risk of infection is low, but "out of an abundance of caution" Health Plus and the state are recommending patients get blood test for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
It said the concern was triggered "as part of an investigation into infection control breaches." A letter from Health Plus provided by the health department said those involved "lapses in infection control in sterilization/cleaning instruments and the injection of medications."
The state health department said information on citations against the surgery center could be obtained through a formal public records request.
The state also said it's not aware of any illness as a result of the infection control issues. Health Plus is paying for affected patients to be tested, and they can call 888-507-0578 during weekdays.
A message to Health Plus left Monday has not yet been returned. A recorded message at the center's phone number said it would be closed until Wednesday.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. With proper treatment, viral loads can often be brought to undetectable levels — and multiple studies have shown no transmissions from HIV-positive patients with undetectable levels to HIV-negative intimate partners. The CDC says in such a case, there is "effectively no risk" of transmission.
Hepatitis B and C affect the liver. According to the FDA, Hepatitis B responses range in severity from mild illness lasting a few weeks to serious long-term illness that can lead to liver disease or cancer. Hepatitis C can result in short-term, acute illness, but most often results in chronic conditions that can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer, according to the FDA. "Most people with chronic hepatitis do not know they are infected and can live with the disease for decades without having symptoms, or feeling sick," it says.
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