Policy Statement 6.3 – Dental Health Care Workers (and Students) Infected with Blood-Borne Viruses
Dental personnel infected with blood-borne viruses should be able to continue to participate in dental practice without affecting public safety.
1.1 Dental Health Care Workers (DHCWs) are at risk of contracting a disease acquired in the course of their duties. Community concern about the risk of acquiring a blood-borne virus in a health care setting generated a review of infection control policies and procedures, and publication of Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Health Care Workers Known to be infected with Blood-borne Viruses, published by the Communicable Disease Network of Australia.
1.2 Transmission of blood-borne viruses from DHCWs to patients in the provision of dental health care is extremely rare.
1.3 The Board requires that registrants must practise in a way that maintains and enhances public health and safety by ensuring that the risk of the spread of infectious diseases is prevented or minimised.
1.4 DENTAL HEALTHCARE WORKERS (DHCWS) are defined as dentists, dental students and allied dental personnel.
1.5 BOARD is the Dental Board of Australia.
1.6 EXPOSURE PRONE PROCEDURE is a term usually characterised by the potential for direct contact between the skin (usually finger or thumb) of the DHCWs and sharp surgical instruments, needles, or sharp tissues (spicules of bone or teeth) in body cavities or in poorly visualised or confined body sites (including the mouth). In the broader sense an exposure prone procedure is considered to be any situation where there is a potentially high risk of transmission of blood-borne disease during dental procedures.
2.1 DHCWs have a duty of care to patients and therefore must be responsible for the protection of patients and other DHCWs against infection.
2.2 DHCWs must have the same rights to confidential testing, counseling and treatment as the general population.
2.3 DHCWs status and rights under anti-discrimination, privacy, equal opportunity and industrial relations legislations must be safeguarded.
2.4 All DHCWs should be vaccinated against blood-borne viruses as appropriate for their health status.
2.5 All dental practitioners performing exposure prone procedures should monitor their infection status for blood-borne viruses in accordance with Communicable Disease Network of Australia (CDNA) guidelines.
2.6 Dental personnel infected with blood-borne viruses should be able to continue to participate in dental practice without affecting public safety.
Approved by Federal Council
Adopted by ADA Federal Council, November 15/16, 2001.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, November 10/11, 2005.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, April 22/23, 2010.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, November 17/18, 2011.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, April 18/19, 2013.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, October 2014 – Electronic Ballot.
Amended by ADA Federal Council, August 8/9, 2019
Amended by ADA Federal Council, August 25, 2022