Healthcare personnel should assume that the blood and other body fluids from all patients are potentially infectious. They should therefore follow infection control precautions at all times.
These precautions include:
the routine use of barriers (such as gloves and/or goggles) when anticipating contact with blood or body fluids
washing hands and other skin surfaces immediately after contact with blood or body fluids, and
the careful handling and disposing of sharp instruments during and after use.
Safety devices have been developed to help prevent needle-stick injuries. If used properly, these types of devices may reduce the risk of exposure to HIV. Many percutaneous injuries are related to sharps disposal. Strategies for safer disposal, including safer design of disposal containers and placement of containers, are being developed.
Although the most important strategy for reducing the risk of occupational HIV transmission is to prevent occupational exposures, plans for postexposure management of health care personnel should be in place.
CDC has issued guidelines for the management of HCP exposures to HIV and recommendations for postexposure prophylaxis (PEP): Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for the Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Postexposure Prophylaxis (June 29, 2001).
These guidelines outline a number of considerations in determining whether or not healthcare personnel should receive PEP and in choosing the type of PEP regimen. For most HIV exposures that warrant PEP, a basic 4-week, two-drug (there are several options) regimen is recommended. For HIV exposures that pose an increased risk of transmission (based on the infection status of the source and the type of exposure), a three-drug regimen may be recommended. Special circumstances such as a delayed exposure report, unknown source person, pregnancy in the exposed person, resistance of the source virus to antiviral agents, and toxicity of PEP regimens...