Protection of health workers from HIV infection

Med Bull Uganda. Jan-Apr 1994;1(2):18-9.


PIP: Health care workers must take care to not become infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, and other blood-borne pathogens through the course of their routine medical work. Health care workers should therefore assume that the blood and body fluids of all patients may be infected with HIV, Hepatitis B, and other blood-borne pathogens, and take universal precautions accordingly. Skin and mucus membrane exposure should be avoided with blood and other body fluids containing visible blood, semen, vaginal fluids, cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, peritoneal fluid, pericardial fluid, and amniotic fluid. Universal precautions do not, however, apply to feces, nasal secretions, sputum, sweat, tears, urine, and vomit unless they contain visible blood. The risk of HIV transmission from these latter fluids and materials is extremely low or non-existent. Protective barriers such as gloves, gowns, masks, and protective eyewear reduce the risk of exposure of health care workers' skin or mucus membranes to these potentially infective materials. Although saliva has not been implicated in HIV transmission, mouthpieces, resuscitation bags, or other ventilation devices should be available in operating theaters, intensive care units, labor suites, and other areas where they could be called upon to minimize the need for emergency mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the potential of infection. Finally, infection control measures will be established in accordance with the need for personal and environmental hygiene, sterilization and high-level disinfection, disinfection, and the disposal of infected waste.

MeSH terms

  • Delivery of Health Care*
  • Disease
  • HIV Infections*
  • Health
  • Health Personnel*
  • Health Planning Guidelines*
  • Methods*
  • Virus Diseases