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eISSN: 1643-3750

Occupational exposure to HIV infection in health care workers

Anita Małgorzata Wnuk

Med Sci Monit 2003; 9(5): CR197-200

ID: 11078

Available online: 2003-05-22

Published: 2003-05-22

Background: The aim of this study was to determine the epidemiology of occupational exposure to HIV infection in health care workers (HCWs).
Material/Methods: A survey from 4 hospitals between February 1995 and May 2001 identified 28 HCWs who had been exposed to HIV. The type of exposure to HIV, the circumstances of the incident, the
safety precautions applied, and epidemiological information were evaluated in each case. A blood specimen for HIV serological testing was collected at the baseline visit and at 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months follow-up.
Results: The study population consisted of 24 women and 4 men, mean age 34.7±5.8, including 15 nurses, 9 physicians, 2 nursing assistants, 1 morgue worker, and 1 medical student. These
workers had been exposed to blood and infectious body fluid from patients who had AIDS (17 exposures), were HIV-antibody positive and symptomatic (3 exposures), or were HIV-antibody positive and asymptomatic (8 exposures). The exposure types included percutaneous injury (22) and blood or infectious body fluid contact with mucous membranes (2) or intact skin (4). Post-exposure chemoprophylaxis was used by 18 HCWs, 12 of whom reported side
effects. None of the HCWs was HIV-seropositive in follow-up after occupational exposure.
Conclusions: Nurses are most at risk for occupational exposure to HIV infection. Post-exposure chemoprophylaxis is effective. Routine post-exposure management is also a good instrument to detect
serological markers of HBV and HCV infection among HCWs and patients.

Keywords: Adult, Anti-HIV Agents - administration & dosage, Disease Transmission, Patient-to-Professional, HIV Infections - epidemiology, HIV Infections - prevention & control, HIV Infections - transmission, Health Personnel, Needlestick Injuries - epidemiology, Nurses, Occupational Exposure, Poland - epidemiology