Pan African Medical Journal

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Post exposure prophylaxis following occupational exposure to HIV: a survey of health care workers in Mbeya, Tanzania, 2009-2010

MJ Mponela, OO Oleribe, A Abade, G Kwesigabo


Introduction: approximately, 1,000 HIV infections are transmitted annually to health care workers (HCWs) worldwide from occupational exposures. Tanzania HCWs experience one to nine needle stick injuries (NSIs) per year, yet the use of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is largely undocumented. We assessed factors influencing use of PEP among HCWs following occupational exposure to HIV.


Methods: a cross-sectional study was conducted in Mbeya Referral Hospital, Mbozi and Mbarali District Hospitals from December 2009 to January 2010 with a sample size of 360 HCWs. Participants were randomly selected from a list of eligible HCWs in Mbeya hospital and all eligible HCWs were enrolled in the two District Hospitals. Information regarding risk of exposure to body fluids and NSIs were collected using a questionnaire. Logistic regression was done to identify predictors for PEP use using Epi Info 3.5.1 at 95% confidence interval.


Results: of 291 HCWs who participated in the study, 35.1% (102/291) were exposed to NSIs and body fluids, with NSIs accounting for 62.9% (64/102). Exposure was highest among medical attendants 38.8% (33/85). Out of exposed HCWs, (22.5% (23/102) used HIV PEP with females more likely to use PEP than males. Reporting of exposures (OR=21.1, CI: 3.85-115.62) and having PEP knowledge (OR =6.5, CI: 1.78-23.99) were significantly associated with using PEP.


Conclusion: despite the observed rate of occupational exposure to HCWs in Tanzania, use of PEP is still low. Effective prevention from HIV infection at work places is required through proper training of HCWs on PEP with emphasis on timely reporting of exposures.

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