Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Risk Of Contracting Hiv From Needle Stick

How Is Hiv Transmitted Through Needles

HIV Prevention

HIV isnt transmitted only through sexual contact. Sharing needles also puts a person at higher risk of contracting HIV.

When a needle is injected into a persons body, it breaks the skin barrier. If the needle has already been injected into another person, it can carry traces of their blood, along with any infections they have. The contaminated needle can introduce these infections into the second persons body.

Researchers dont know if having an undetectable viral load reduces the risk of HIV transmission through shared needles, but its reasonable to assume it may provide some risk reduction.

HIV can affect anyone. Whatever their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, or race, everyone should take steps to protect themselves. But due to socioeconomic factors, some demographic groups have higher HIV transmission rates and generally are more affected by HIV.

According to the CDC , the general demographic traits most affected by HIV are:

Transgender women are also highly impacted by HIV transmissions as a population, reports the CDC .

These groups are disproportionately affected by HIV, but they arent inherently at greater risk of contracting HIV. An individuals personal risk depends on their behaviors, not on their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, race, or any other demographic factor.

What Steps Are Involved With A Surveillance Program

Surveillance programs that provide in-depth analysis of accidents are an important tool for obtaining information. The goals of these programs should include:

  • Determining the rate of injuries.
  • Investigating the factors that cause the injuries.
  • Ensuring that injured workers receive proper treatment.
  • Identifying areas in which the prevention program needs improvement.
  • Leading to practical strategies for dealing with the problem.


Add a badge to your website or intranet so your workers can quickly find answers to their health and safety questions.

How To Sew Properly To Avoid Injuries

Here are some tips which would help you to avoid injuries while sewing.

  • Learn the distance. The moving needle through which you feed your cloth is the most evident danger while using a sewing machine. The greatest thing you can do is take the simplest precaution: keep your fingers apart from the needle.
  • Concentrate. To be safe when working on your sewing machine, you must concentrate on what youre sewing.
  • Make sure your needles are intact.
  • Dont sew over pins. Sewing over pins can shatter them and cause them to shoot out at you. A broken pin, in addition to being a risk, might also cause harm to your machine or fabric.
  • Use the perfect machine.
  • Turn off the machine when you arent using it.

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Cdc Study Highlights The Differences In Perceived And Actual Risk

Needlestick injuriesas well as any percutaneous injury that can expose a person to tainted blood or body fluidshave long been a concern to both healthcare workers and the public at large.

Many of the fears have been fueled by media reports which either overstate the risk of acquiring HIV through needlestick injuries or spotlight cases in which victims are reported to be “living in fear” after having received such exposure .

While the perception of risk may be high in cases of needlestick injuries, recent analyses from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the actual risk may be far lowerso low, in fact, that it can now be considered rare.

What Is The Risk From Needlestick Injuries In Healthcare Settings

Needle stick Injury

The risk of transmission from a needlestick involving HIV-containing blood has been estimated at 0.23%, or just over one in 500. However, the reviews of transmission probability upon which this calculation is based date predominantly from the 1980s and 1990s, before the wide-scale introduction of antiretroviral therapy. Due to the effectiveness of HIV treatment, the blood of someone living with HIV in the UK could well have no detectable virus , lowering that risk even further. In UK guidelines, PEP is therefore no longer recommended following occupational exposure to a source with an undetectable viral load.

The greatest risk to healthcare workers of acquiring HIV is following a skin puncture injury involving a hollow needle that has been in the vein or artery of an HIV-positive person who has late-stage disease and a high viral load. The European Union Sharps Directive of 2013 stipulates measures to protect healthcare personnel.

The risks of acquiring other blood-borne viruses from a contaminated needle are considerably higher than for HIV . For this reason, healthcare workers are recommended to have the hepatitis B vaccination, although no vaccine is available for hepatitis C.

occupational exposure

Exposure to HIV as a result of work activities. Exposure may include accidental exposure to HIV-infected blood following a needlestick injury or cut from a surgical instrument

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How Should Sharps Be Disposed Of

An effective system for disposing of used needles and sharps is crucial to preventing injuries. Have disposal containers readily available.

Workers should place needles in wide-mouth, puncture-proof containers. Locate disposal containers specifically where needles and sharps are used to make safe disposal possible. Replace the containers before they are completely filled – sharps containers should be removed and replaced when they are three quarters full. Make sure they are sealed, collected, and disposed of in accordance with local regulations for biomedical waste.

All staff should report every incident in which they find needles or sharps left at the bedside or thrown into the regular garbage.

How Many Cases Of Hiv Have Resulted From Occupational Needle Injuries

Up to 2013, there were 58 verified cases of HIV transmission to healthcare professionals in the United States, with only one since 1999. There have only ever been five confirmed cases of HIV infection in the UK as a result of a needlestick injury in a hospital environment, and none in the last 20 years. The number of persons infected with HIV as a result of an unintentional needlestick injury is estimated to be approximately 100 people worldwide.

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Safe And Legal Disposal Of Sharps

Disposal of sharps, which includes syringes, needles, and lancets is regulated. They can carry hepatitis, HIV, and other germs that cause disease. Throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet can pose health risks for others. Regulations governing disposal of sharps protect garbage and other utility workers and the general public from needlesticks and illness. There are different rules and disposal options for different circumstances. Contact your local health department to determine which option applies to your situation.

Found Syringes in Public Locations

Syringes that are found in parks, along roadsides, in laundromats, or in other public locations present potential risk for accidental needlesticks. Risks for infection from a found syringe depends on a variety of factors, including the amount of time the syringe was left out, the presence of blood, and the type of injury . The risk of HIV infection to a healthcare worker from a needlestick containing HIV-positive blood is about 1 in 300, according to CDC data.

Anyone with an accidental needlestick requires an assessment by a medical professional. Clinicians should make certain that the injured person had been vaccinated against hepatitis B and tetanus and may also recommend testing for HIV, HCV, and HBV. If a found syringe is handled, but no needlestick occurred, testing for HIV is not necessary.

Safe Disposal of Found Syringes

For safe disposal of found syringes:

Occupational Exposure To Bloodborne Pathogens

HIV Basics: Testing, Prevention, and Living with HIV

Occupational exposure means reasonably anticipated skin, eye, mucous membrane, or parenteral contact with blood or other potentially infected materials that may result from the performance of an employees duties.

Exposure incident means a specific eye, mouth, other mucous membrane, non-intact skin, or parenteral contact with blood or OPIM that results from the performance of an employees duties. Examples of non-intact skin at risk include skin with dermatitis, hangnails, cuts, abrasions, chafing, or acne.

Occupational groups that have been widely recognized as having potential exposure to HBV/HCV/HIV include, but are not limited to, healthcare employees, law enforcement, fire, ambulance, and other emergency response, and public service employees.

The compliance directive of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration on occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens, CPL 2-2.69, may be consulted for guidance. For more information or assistance, contact a Department of Labor and Industries consultant in your area. Check the blue government section of the phone book for the office nearest you.

Test Your Learning

Answer: d

Bloodborne Pathogens

Blood and OPIM

Bodily fluids that have been recognized and linked to the transmission of HIV, HBV, and HCV, and to which Standard Precautions apply, are:

  • Blood
  • Amniotic fluid
  • Saliva in dental procedures
  • Specimens with concentrated HIV, HBV and HCV viruses

Exposure Control Plan

Bloodborne Pathogens Training

Online Resource

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Path To Improved Health

There are many ways to prevent occupational exposure to HIV. To start, health care workers should treat all body fluids the same way. You should assume they are infected and take precautions:

  • Use protective covering, such as gloves and goggles. You always should do this when dealing with blood and body fluids.
  • Wash your hands and other skin areas right after contact with blood and body fluids.
  • Be careful when handling and disposing of needles and sharp instruments.
  • Use available safety devices to prevent needle stick injuries.
  • Be aware of your employers post-exposure processes.

If an exposure does occur, follow these basic steps:

  • For a skin puncture, induce bleeding at the wound site. Do this by applying gentle pressure around the wound as you wash the area with soap and water.
  • For a skin or mucous splash, rinse the area well with water.
  • Get the infected persons information. This includes name, address, phone number, and HIV status. If they are a patient, get their doctors contact information.
  • Notify your supervisor and coworkers. If your place of work has other procedures in place, follow those .
  • Seek immediate medical care. Go to your employee health unit, emergency department, or personal doctor.

Once you are with medical professionals, they will assess the exposure. If you have a skin puncture or cut, you may also need a tetanus toxoid booster. The following are some questions a doctor may ask about the exposure.

What To Do After A Needlestick Injury

If you pierce or puncture your skin with a used needle, follow this first aid advice immediately:

  • encourage the wound to bleed, ideally by holding it under running water
  • wash the wound using running water and plenty of soap
  • do not scrub the wound while you’re washing it
  • do not suck the wound
  • dry the wound and cover it with a waterproof plaster or dressing.

You should also seek urgent medical advice to assess your need for PEP or other treatment to reduce the risk of getting an infection.

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Hiv Prevention In Health Care Setting

Standard precaution is a core part of infection control practices pertaining to HIV prevention in health care setting. Standard precaution is defined as a “set of precautionary measures including good hand hygiene practices and the use of protective barriers during routine patient care”. This concept is similar to that embodied in the term “universal precaution” which was normally applied to the handling of selected body fluids in the prevention of bloodborne infections. Standard precaution encompasses measures for the handling of blood, body fluids, secretion and excretions, and the avoidance of contamination of non-intact skin and mucous membrane.

Standard precaution implies that “all patients are treated as if they have a bloodborne virus , such as HIV or HBV “, and are therefore treated no differently from other patients. The concept is different from situations which demand the application of extra infection control precautions, when, for example, an infection is spread by droplets, air or close contacts. In such circumstances, a different concept, that of transmission based precaution, is advocated. Standard precaution covers:

handwashing before and after patient contact

wearing protective barriers when there’s a direct contact or potential contact with blood or body fluids, mucous membrane and non-intact skin of patients

safe handling of sharps, avoiding for example, recapping.

Ways To Reduce The Risk

  • Health workers who may come in contact with blood or body fluids should receive hepatitis B vaccinations.
  • Follow all safety procedures in the workplace.
  • Regularly undertake safety refresher courses.
  • Minimise your use of needles.
  • Remember that latex gloves dont protect you against needlestick injuries.
  • Dont bend or snap used needles.
  • Never re-cap a used needle.
  • Place used needles into a clearly labelled and puncture-proof sharps approved container.

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Hiv From A Needle Stick

Dear Alice,

What are your chances of getting HIV, or any other disease, from a needle prick on the finger?

Dear Reader,

Great question! Itâs wise to be in the know about workplace health risks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 385,000 sharps-related injuries occur in health care workers each year in the United States. But, fear not! There are things you can do to prevent a needlestick injury from happening ! Getting back to your question about Human Immunodeficiency Virus according to the CDC, if a person is stuck by a needle with HIV-positive fluid on it, approximately 2.3 out of 1,000 individuals, if untreated, will become infected with HIV. So, the odds of being infected with HIV from a needlestick injury are less than one percent. Interested in more stats about possible disease transmission and what to do if you are accidently stuck? Read on!

There are two types of injuries that could place a health care worker at risk: a percutaneous injury or a mucus membrane injury . And, as you suggested, injuries may expose health care workers to a range of blood-borne pathogens including, but not limited to, HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C. Risk of transmission can increase if the needle is visibly bloody, if the procedure involved placing the needle in one of the patient’s veins or arteries, or if it was a deep injury.

Adapted from the CDC.

Adapted from the CDC.

May 06, 2016Originally published

What Are Needlestick Injuries

Needlestick injuries are wounds caused by needles that accidentally puncture the skin.

Needlestick injuries are a hazard for people who work with hypodermic syringes and other needle equipment. These injuries can occur at any time when people use, disassemble, or dispose of needles. When not disposed of properly, needles can hide in linen or garbage and injure other workers who encounter them unexpectedly.

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People Unaware Of Having Hiv

Its estimated that about 1 in 7 people living with HIV in the United States dont know they have the virus.

People who are unaware that they have HIV are less likely to take precautions to avoid transmission to other people. They also likely dont take medications to suppress the virus.

If you dont currently have HIV, you can prevent your chances of infection by:

  • discussing HIV and STIs with your partner before engaging in sexual activity
  • using a barrier method every time you engage in sexual activity
  • avoiding sharing needles
  • talking with your doctor about postexposure prophylaxis if you may have been exposed to HIV in the past 72 hours
  • getting tested for other STIs regularly or before engaging in sexual activity with a new partner

If you do have HIV, you can prevent transmitting it to others by:

  • discussing HIV and STIs with your partner before engaging in sexual activity
  • using a barrier method every time you engage in sexual activity
  • taking your medications as prescribed
  • avoiding sharing needles or drug injection equipment
  • having your viral load tested regularly as recommended by your doctor

How Many Cases Of Hiv Have Resulted From Occupational Needlestick Injuries

Causes of delayed seroconversion or negative HIV test post 6months of exposure-Dr Ramakrishna Prasad

In the US, there were a total of 58 cases of confirmed occupational transmission of HIV to healthcare workers up to 2013, with only one since 1999. In the UK, there have only ever been five definite cases of HIV infection following a needlestick injury in a healthcare setting, and none reported in the past 20 years. The number of cases of HIV acquisition following an accidental needlestick injury globally is thought to be around 100 people in total.

Between 2004 and 2013, a total of 1478 healthcare workers were reported as having been exposed to patient blood containing HIV in the UK. Three-quarters of these took PEP, and almost all did so within 24 hours, with no HIV infections as a result.

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Necessary Conditions For Hiv Infection

HIV is a relatively fragile virus, which is not spread by casual contact. HIV is not easy to catchit must be acquired. In order for HIV to be transmitted, three conditions must occur:

  • There must be an HIV source.
  • There must be a sufficient dose of virus.
  • There must be access to the bloodstream of another person.

Body Fluids That Can Transmit HIV

Anyone infected with the virus is potentially a source of HIV infection. Transmission occurs primarily through infected blood, semen, vaginal secretions, or breast milk. Sweat, tears, saliva, urine, and feces are not capable of transmitting HIV unless visibly contaminated with blood.

In settings such as hospital operating rooms, other fluids such as cerebrospinal fluid, synovial fluid, pleural fluid, pericardial fluid, and amniotic fluid may be considered infectious if the source is HIV positive. These fluids are generally not found outside the hospital setting. Therefore, the most common body fluids considered potentially infectious for HIV are blood, semen, vaginal secretions, and breast milk.

Sufficient Dose

The concentration and amount of HIV necessary for infection to occur is called a sufficient dose.


Access to another persons bloodstream involves behaviors or circumstances that place someone at risk for infectious fluid entering their bloodstream. The most common of the risk behaviors are unprotected sexual intercourse with an infected person and use of contaminated equipment for injecting drugs.

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