HIV/AIDS Precautions - Health Care

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What should I know when employed as a health care worker?

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Consider blood and body fluids from all patients as potentially infective. Refer to Routine Practices for preventing transmission of bloodborne infectious diseases. Common routes of exposure include punctures from an infected needle or sharp, entry via mucous membranes (e.g., nose, mouth, etc.), and any open wound.

Report immediately suspect fluid exposure, or a needlestick or sharp injury to a designated person or health care professional.

Please also see the OSH Answers document HIV/AIDS in the Workplace for more information.

What personal protection should I wear?

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Wear gloves:

  • When you have open or healing wounds, or skin infections.
  • When in contact with blood or body fluids, secretions, excretions or non-intact skin.
  • When in contact with surfaces or articles contaminated with blood or body fluids.
  • When performing venipuncture or other vascular access procedures.
  • When carrying out cleaning or decontamination procedures.

Replace torn or punctured gloves immediately.

Use new gloves for every patient.

Wear protective eye wear, masks or face shields (with safety glasses or goggles) during procedures likely to generate droplets of blood or body fluids.

In general, protective eye wear, masks and clothing are not needed for routine care of AIDS virus-infected persons.

Wear gowns when the splashing of blood or body fluids may occur.

Wash hands:

  • Before and after direct patient contact.
  • Immediately and thoroughly when contaminated by blood or body fluids.
  • After removing gloves.
  • After a glove tear or suspected glove leak.
  • Before leaving a work area.

The use of gloves does not eliminate the need for hand washing. Hand washing is one of the most important procedures for the prevention of transmission.

What precautions should I follow when working with linen?

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  • Handle soiled linen as little as possible.
  • Bag soiled linen at location.
  • Transport linen in impervious bag if outside of linen bag is soiled. Process according to hospital policy.
  • Do not sort or rinse soiled linen in patient care area.

What precautions should I follow when performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation?

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  • Use mouthpieces or other ventilation devices for CPR. Avoid direct contact with patients.
  • Clean and sterilize equipment before reusing

  • Fact sheet last revised: 2017-03-01