Human immunodeficiency virus infection occupational post- exposure prophylaxis
AbstractThe risk of acquiring Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection following occupational exposure to HIV- infected blood is low. It has
been considered that there is no risk of HIV transmission where intact skin is exposed to HIVinfected blood. However, health care workers
who are occupationally exposed to HIV infection must have immediate access to post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). The risk of HIV transmission through the route of injury sustained must be
assessed and adequate management given. Postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) should be commenced within 1-2 hours of exposure and
should last one month for it to be effective. All health care workers who report exposure to HIV at work whether given PEP or not should be
followed up for six months before a negative antibody test is used to reassure the individual that infection has not occurred. The objective of
this article is to create awareness among health care workers, particularly resident doctors, who by the nature of their work are exposed to potentially infected body fluids so that they can present themselves rapidly for risk assessment and commencement of ART if necessary in the event of an occupational exposure to HIV.
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