Between 1978–1996, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Public Health Service) recorded 51 documented cases of occupationally acquired HIV infection among health-care workers (HCW). Actual numbers may be significantly higher since many exposures go unreported. Of the documented cases, 86% acquired the infection percutaneously while 10% had mucocutaneous exposure; 47% developed AIDS. The most common vehicle for transmission is through infected blood (90%) with exposure to other body fluids, clinical or laboratory specimens comprising the remainder. The estimated risk of HIV infection after percutaneous exposure to HIV-infected blood is approximately 0.3%. Risk of infection from contact with mucous membranes is significantly lower, estimated at 0.1%. In contrast, the risk of Hepatitis B infection from percutaneous exposure may be as high as 40%, resulting in approximately 200 deaths per year. Infection from Hepatitis C exposure is roughly 3–10%.
KeywordsInfected Blood Universal Precaution Infectious Disease Physician Visible Blood Disposable Needle
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