How should a healthcare worker who experiences an occupational exposure to HIV report the exposure?

Updated: Jul 27, 2020
  • Author: Ana Elizabeth Markelz, MD, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: John Bartlett, MD  more...
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All healthcare institutions should have an easily accessible system in place available 24 hours a day that allows for reporting and managing the healthcare worker who experiences an occupational exposure to HIV. The plan for providing PEP should encompass how the medication will be made available, provision of the initial 24- to 48-hour supply, authority for releasing the drugs, and how the healthcare worker will obtain the PEP medications to complete the 4-week regimen in light of the circumstances that some individuals may be reluctant to go to their local pharmacy. In the United States, a policy for managing exposures is required and must comply with the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA standard 1910.1030 Blood borne Pathogens).

Clinicians charged with managing these exposures should have the capability to initiate blood tests, start immediate treatment, and arrange for follow-up within 72 hours. At that time, the opportunity for further clarification of the nature of the exposure, review of source test results, and evaluation of the PEP regimen exists.

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