Accidental exposure to HIV

Case Numbers

POTENTIAL exposure to blood-borne viruses (BBVs) in clinical practice is a risk most clinicians face daily. Reports of occupational HIV seroconversion are based on published reports and as such undoubtedly underestimate the true figures. 

Data to 2002 reports 106 documented cases of occupational HIV transmission and 238 possible transmissions worldwide; however, in 2002 the US Centers for Disease Control alone had 56 voluntary reports of occupational HIV transmission.1,2 

Although uncommon in Australia, potential exposure to HIV and other BBVs is always accompanied by uncertainty and apprehension. 

RACGP standards for general practice specify that each practice requires a written infection control policy and a nominated team member to coordinate the infection control processes.3 

This policy should include management of both sharps injury and blood and body substance contact.

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