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3 Philadelphia Dental Practices May Have Exposed Patients To HIV And Hepatitis

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Three dental clinics in Philadelphia may have exposed their patients to HIV and Hepatitis. The dental practices were prohibited from operating after the health department found out that they have unsafe infection control practices.  ( Pixabay )

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health urges patients of three dental practices to have themselves checked for HIV and Hepatitis.

On March 25, the government body released an announcement about the closure of all three Trieu Family Dental Clinics across the city. The addresses of the clinics are 437 West Chew Avenue, 5427 North 5th Street, and 6536 Woodland Avenue.

Grounds for closure include inappropriate sterilization and reprocessing techniques of equipment, and errors in safe injection measures. Such findings may put patients' safety at risk.

Preventing HIV And Hepatitis

The city health department advises all patients who have received care from these clinics to go to their health care providers to be checked for HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

The probability of infection is low, and the health department is not aware of any existing cases of infection associated with the dental practices.

Health Department In Action

The health department received information from an anonymous source regarding the dental clinics' improper health practices. Shortly after, their investigators went to the clinics and were able to observe unsafe infection control measures. On Dec. 7, 2018, all three clinics closed down. From then on, the health department has been working with the clinic staff to re-educate and refresh their infection control practices, and to get a list of their patients.

"None of these clinics will be allowed to re-open until the Health Department is satisfied that all unsafe practices have been remedied," states the press release.

The Pennsylvania Department of State is also performing a separate investigation.

Reaching Out To Patients

The health department already informed all patients, who received care from Jan. 1, 2017 to Dec. 7, 2018, about the issue. The agency sent out a letter, advising these patients to seek medical consultation and testing. Patients who do not have a regular attending doctor to go to can consult a number of clinics in the city as listed in the letter.

Patients may also call a hotline set up by the health department for this cause. They can call (215) 218-2999 from Monday to Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Patients may ask questions about their possible exposure, and other information about the clinics.

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