To print: Use your web browser's print feature. Close this window after printing.

HIV Infection in Health Professionals


Table of Contents


HIV Infection in Health Professionals

Health professionals are not considered at high risk for HIV infection, because they use protection (such as gloves, masks, and goggles) when dealing with blood or body fluids.

There probably isn't much risk of getting HIV if contaminated blood comes into contact with intact skin. But the risk may be higher if contaminated blood touches cut, scraped, or broken skin.

The degree of risk depends on:

If you are exposed to HIV on the job, talk with someone who specializes in treating HIV. He or she can help you weigh the pros and cons of treatment to reduce your chances of getting HIV. Treatment recommendations depend on how you were exposed and what you were exposed to. If you do have treatment, your treatment should start as soon as possible after exposure and no later than 72 hours after exposure.

Protect yourself from accidental exposure by disposing of sharp objects properly and wearing protective gloves, gowns, and eye and face protection. It is likely that work guidelines are available that will tell you what to do if you are exposed to HIV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following precautions:

  • Immediately following an exposure to blood:
  • Do not squeeze a puncture wound or cut, and do not wash the affected area with antiseptics or bleach.
  • Following any blood exposure:
  • For more information about testing and treatment after a job-related exposure to HIV, contact the CDC National Prevention Information Network at 1-800-458-5231 or National Institutes of Health (NIH) AIDSinfo at 1-800-HIV-0440 (1-800-448-0440).


    References

    Citations

    1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2005). Updated U.S. Public Health Services guidelines for the management of occupational exposures to HIV and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis. MMWR, 50(RR-09): 1–17. Available online: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5409a1.htm.


    Credits for HIV Infection in Health Professionals

    By Healthwise Staff
    Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
    Specialist Medical Reviewer Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
    Last Revised April 5, 2012

    Note: The "printer friendly" document will not contain all the information available in the online document. Some information (e.g. cross-references to other topics, definitions or medical illustrations) is only available in the online version.

    © 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.