A dental surgery has told 563 patients to get HIV tests due to unsterilised equipment being used during procedures.

Patients registered with Dentality Hoddesdon, London, received letters explaining how a hygienist had failed to sterilise a scaler and that they could be at risk.

One patient said: “You get a letter telling you to get a HIV test and it’s terrifying. They can say the risk is small all they want — but the truth is that they don’t actually know.

“The fact it took them three months to warn everyone is disgusting. How many more people could have been infected in that time?”

The scaler was cleaned only twice a day, as opposed to being cleaned after every use, reports The Sun.

Other staff members raised the issue after noticing the piece of equipment wasn't in the steriliser as often as it should be.

The hygienist was removed from her role at the surgery, but it reportedly still allowed to work elsehwere.

Dr Vishaal Shah, from Dentality Hoddesdon, insisted: “We have always put patients first.”

Dr Jorg Hoffmann, of Public Health England East, said: “The risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV is extremely low and testing is being offered as a precautionary measure.”

Last month, two people contracted HIV from a cosmetic surgery in America after undergoing 'vampire facials'.

The bizarre cosmetic procedure involves drawing blood from a patient before extracting the plasma and platelets which are then re-injected into the face.

Now, officials from the New Mexico Department of Heath (NMDOH) have said two people who contracted HIV may have been infected by needles used at the VIP Spa in Albuquerque.

The disease attacks the immune system of a sufferer, making them more susceptible to other diseases, although most sufferers now expect to have a normal life expectancy.

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