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Transmission of HIV to Health Care Workers
Transmission of HIV in the health care delivery setting has been the subject of intense investigation throughout the course of the epidemic.
The percentage of health care workers with AIDS who have “no identified risk” for HIV infection has remained low (< 10%) and has not increased over time, despite the dramatic increase in the number of AIDS cases and concomitant exposure of health care workers to patients with HIV disease. More importantly, detailed studies examining the risk of specific exposures, such as needle stick injuries and mucous membrane exposures, have demonstrated very low risk of disease acquisition in the workplace. More than 3628 health care workers have been examined prospectively in carefully designed surveillance studies at 10 high-incidence medical centers.

The overall risk of seroconversion after a percutaneous needle stick from a known HIV-positive source is 0.25% per exposure. Although mucous membrane exposures to HIV-positive blood have resulted in seroconversion in at least three health care workers, prospective studies of over 900 splash exposures have failed to identify any seroconverters, implying that the risk of infection is even lower after mucous membrane exposure than through percutaneous needle stick.

To date, no transmission has occurred after exposure to body fluids other than blood or fluids heavily contaminated with blood. Therefore, although the potential for HIV transmission to health care providers clearly exists, the risk of infection is inherently low and can be further minimized by following routine precautions to prevent transmission.

Despite their logical basis and relative ease of implementation, universal precautions have not been used routinely by many health care providers. Recent studies have shown that > 50% of health care workers engage in inadequate infection control practices, even in high-impact AIDS centers, and up to 40% of the needle stick exposures were judged to be preventable. Although lack of adequate education may partly explain these findings, implementation of infection control practices has been generally poor historically. Between 200 and 400 health care workers die each year as a result of hepatitis B infection acquired on the job. The use of universal precautions helps minimize the transmission of many transmissible diseases in addition to HIV.

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Pedagogy has developed an online continuing education course for healthcare professionals, offering 1.0 contact hours of continuing education on the subject of bloodborne pathogens and the prevention of exposure.

Bloodborne Pathogens

OSHA the Occupation Safety and Health Administration is a government agency that sets strict guidelines for the management of toxic and hazardous materials. Any organization or employee that has a potential for exposure to blood or other potentially infections materials are required to follow OSHA guidelines to minimize transmission of infection due to exposure to a bloodborne pathogen.

Employers must be familiar with the requirements of OSHA in providing and implementing an Exposure Control Plan and setting infection control practices to prevent and reduce the spread of infection in health care settings “Bloodborne Pathogens” will review the definitions of bloodborne pathogens, transmission, bloodborne illnesses, and the effective means of prevention of transmission of diseases that may be caused by bloodborne pathogens.

Upon completion of the course you will be able to:
  • Define bloodborne pathogens.
  • Explain how bloodborne pathogens are transmitted.
  • Explain types of bloodborne illnesses.
  • Discuss symptoms of bloodborne illnesses.
  • List two agencies regulating the prevention and spread of bloodborne illness.
  • State when to use standard precautions.
  • Discuss when to use personal protective equipment.
  • Explain what to do in the event of an exposure to a bloodborne pathogen.

The licensed nurse: RN, LPN/LVN will receive 1 contact hours. Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider # CEP 15467

To view details or to purchase the course CLICK HERE
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