Members in the News: Leopoldo Rodriguez, MD, FAAP, FASA on Patients with HIV

The below is a translated article featuring an interview with one of SAMBA's own: Board Member Leopoldo Rodriquez, MD, FAAP, FASA. If you know of a member in the news, please send the story to and it may be featured in our next newsletter! 

To read the original article in Spanish click here.

Article published in the newspaper “El Heraldo” (The Herald) on June 17, 2017. 

“Patients with HIV can be operated” by Estefanīa Fajardo de la Espriella (@Estefaniafd)

Specialists covered this topic during the Colombian Society of Anesthesiologists (SCARE) 32nd Congress in Barranquilla. Doctor Leopoldo Rodriguez, Chair of SAMBA’s International Relations Committee, participated in a conference called “Patients with HIV for Ambulatory Surgery, any contraindications?”

“Many people think that HIV positive patients can’t have surgery, this is an erroneous concept,” Dr. Rodriguez explained during an interview with “El Heraldo”.

The reason is that these patients receive medical treatment and the disease can be controlled; some patients have chosen to not take any antivirals, but decisions should be made based on their health status. 

Our focus is mainly on the secondary injury that the patient may suffer, such as kidney disease, endocrine disorders, increase in coronary artery disease, all induced by the HIV virus or its therapy.”

Dr. Rodriguez’ presentation reviewed which other organ systems may be compromised and then moved on to HIV patient selection criteria for ambulatory surgery versus inpatient setting and why.


Some people may consider HIV a stigma, but from the Medical point of view, it is not a contraindication to have surgery.

Dr. Rodriguez pointed out that he lives in Miami, Florida, where there are a high number of HIV infected patients. “I commonly perform anesthesia on 5 to 10 patients that are HIV positive every week without any problems."

"We are trained to treat all patients as if they were HIV positive. We must be sensitive in the way we ask patients if they are infected; however, universal precautions are taken for all patients, as if they all were HIV positive. It is impossible to be 100% certain; this way we protect ourselves and the patient."

"Some patients are afraid of telling us that they are HIV positive, but once they feel comfortable with the way they are treated, they then disclose the information. Other risks they are subject to, relates to secondary infections or disorders, such as toxoplasmosis, testicular atrophy. When they don’t disclose to their physician, they are unable to prevent further development of the disease or secondary problems."

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