Health Care Workers and the Risk of HIV Transmission
Allen, James R.
Hastings Center Report. 1988 Apr/May; 18(2): S2-S5.
A physician with the AIDS Program at the Centers for Disease Control examines epidemiological data on the risk of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection to U.S. health care personnel. Isolated cases of such infection have created unnecessary anxiety among those caring for AIDS and HIV-infected patients. Combined studies of almost 1,400 health care workers and 1,300 dental personnel suggest that, in the absence of known risk factors, the risk of HIV infection even after mucous membrane exposure or parenteral innoculation of infected blood or other body fluids is extremely low--at maximum, probably less than one per 200 incidents, compared with the 6% to 30% risk of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection after parenteral exposure to the blood of HBV-infected patients. Allen concludes that the already low risk of HIV transmission in health care settings can be further reduced by strict attention to infection control guidelines and to preventing accidents with sharp instruments. (KIE abstract)
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