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.
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
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).
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:
April 5, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Peter Shalit, MD, PhD - Internal Medicine
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