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The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that infects the immune system. Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the HIV infection. HIV causes the immune system to become vulnerable to other infections. There is presently no cure or vaccine for HIV. It takes, on average, 10 years for the initial HIV infection to progress to AIDS without treatment.
Please also see the OSH Answers document HIV/AIDS in the Workplace for more information.
The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can pass from one person to another in the following ways:
HIV is not found in vomit, feces, nasal secretions, tears or urine unless these fluids are visibly contaminated with blood.
HIV is not spread by casual contact. There is no risk of becoming infected with HIV by working on the same assembly line, using the same equipment, sharing locker rooms or toilet facilities or being in the same office as someone with HIV infection or AIDS.
All workers who are in contact with contaminated blood or other body fluids are at risk. Exposure to HIV in the workplace occurs through:
The Centers for Disease Control recommend using routine practices to protect workers at risk from HIV exposure. This approach stresses that all situations involving contact with blood and certain other body fluids present a risk. Routine practices outline the use of barriers to prevent workplace exposure to HIV and other viruses. These barriers include the use of:
Add a badge to your website or intranet so your workers can quickly find answers to their health and safety questions.
Although every effort is made to ensure the accuracy, currency and completeness of the information, CCOHS does not guarantee, warrant, represent or undertake that the information provided is correct, accurate or current. CCOHS is not liable for any loss, claim, or demand arising directly or indirectly from any use or reliance upon the information.