I take three exceptions to the editorial "Doctors and the Risk of AIDS" {Dec. 29}. First, most of the "medical school deans" and other such officials are far removed from the daily care of AIDS patients and, unlike the treating physicians, face little risk of infection.

Second, doctors in nonemergency situations have never been required to treat "everyone." A doctor, for instance, is not forced to perform major surgery upon someone who refuses blood transfusions. When TB was rampant, it was considered ethical to refer such patients to TB centers rather than to treat them through private offices. The same holds true today for drug addiction, which is not treated in private offices. How then does referring rather than treating AIDS patients become unethical when referring is quite proper in similar conditions?

Third, and most important, because AIDS has a long incubation period, a doctor could acquire the virus six to 12 months before testing positive and several years before developing symptoms. During this period he could transmit the disease to his other patients, especially during surgery or obstetric procedures. He could also transmit the disease to his spouse and even, if he is male, indirectly to his unborn or infant children -- all before realizing he had acquired the virus. Female doctors or the spouses of male doctors who acquired the virus could transmit AIDS to their fetuses and through breast milk to their newborns.

While I may choose to take such risks, no amount of self-righteous hyperbole from the deans or The Post should or ought to coerce me into putting my patients and my loved ones at such deadly risk. RICHARD L. STOKES III, M.D. Reston