Occupational Exposure To HIV – 7 Tips For Health Care Workers

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is one of the most dangerous blood borne pathogens that are…

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is one of the most dangerous blood borne pathogens that are transmitted via infected blood, semen, breast milk or vaginal secretions. The risk of HIV infection from an injury from needle stick, open cut, splash of blood or body fluids into mucous membranes Healthy Lifestyle Article is less. Body fluids like tears, urine, saliva and sweat do not transmit this virus, unless there is visible contamination of blood. If you are a health care worker, you may have the risk of exposure to HIV. However, you can protect yourself from the risk by following some tips.
Tips For Health Care Workers
1. Universal Precautions
Your risk of exposure to HIV can be reduced significantly, if you universal precautions. You should assume that all blood and bodily fluids are infected with virus and use barriers like gloves and goggles, whenever you expect to come to contact with blood or other body fluids.
2. Wash Your Hands
You should wash your hands and other exposed skin parts immediately after contacting with blood or potentially infectious bodily fluids. You should flush water into the delicate mucous membranes to prevent the risk of infection.
3. Handle Sharp Instruments Carefully
You should handle and dispose needles and sharp instruments during and after use. There are some safety devices that help prevent needle stick injuries. You need to learn how to use them properly. Many injuries like cuts and needle sticks occur, while disposing sharps. You should follow the right methods, which include safety disposal of sharps in appropriate containers and labeling them.
4. Post Exposure Management
If a skin puncture has occurred, while treating or giving care to a HIV patient, you should wash the area with soap and warm water immediately. If mucous membranes have been splashed by blood or body fluid, you should rinse the area thoroughly with water.
5. Seek Medical Attention
If you suspect that you have exposed to infected blood or body fluids, you should seek medical attention immediately. If you have a cut or skin puncture, your doctor may advice to get a tetanus toxoid booster. In addition, anti HIV medication may be prescribed.
6. Post Exposure HIV Prophylaxis
Your doctor may recommend you to take some medications to minimize the risk of developing HIV. You may need to go through bone marrow evaluation. Tests will be taken to analyze the function of your kidney and liver. The tests will be repeated at regular intervals. Early post exposure HIV prophylaxis can help reduce the risk of infection considerably. Even if infection occurs, prophylaxis can help reduce the growth of virus and slow down the course of HIV disease.
7. Follow Up
Antiretroviral agents are prescribed for the treatment of AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) caused by HIV. Follow up is required to evaluate the side effects and complexities caused by the antiretroviral agents.
Understanding the modes of HIV transmission and following some simple tips can help you prevent the risk of infection.
If you suspect to have HIV infection or have infected with the virus, you may want to keep your health information confidential. The HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability And Accountability Vitamin Supplement Definition Act) ensures that confidentiality of individuals is protected. No health information including HIV status will be released by the organizations involved with HIV care.