How many total percutaneous HIV exposures occur each year in healthcare workers according to the CDC?

Updated: Jul 27, 2020
  • Author: Ana Elizabeth Markelz, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: John Bartlett, MD  more...
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Investigators from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 380,000 total percutaneous exposures occur each year. [5] Underreporting of exposures has long been recognized as a significant problem due to the perception of technical incompetence, nature of the intervention, lack of understanding of the risks, and concern about excessive paperwork. [6]

Despite a large number of reported exposures, the number of occupationally acquired HIV infections among healthcare workers (HCW) reported to the CDC has been much lower. Between 1985 and 2013, 58 confirmed and 150 possible cases of occupationally acquired HIV infections were reported to the CDC. Only one confirmed case has been reported since 1999. This case involved a laboratory technician working with a live HIV culture in 2008. Nurses accounted for the highest number of confirmed and possible occupationally acquired HIV cases, representing 41.4% and 24.7% of cases, respectively. [7]

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