Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) reduces the likelihood of HIV infection after potential exposure, either occupationally or through sexual intercourse. PEP should be provided as part of a comprehensive precautions package that reduces peoples’ exposure to infectious hazards at work.
The risk of transmission of HIV from an infected HIV patient is less than 1%. The risk for transmission from exposure to infected fluids or tissues is believed to be lower than for exposure to infected blood.
PEP may reduce the occurrence of job acquired HIV infection in health care workers. The availability of PEP for health workers will serve to increase staff motivation to work with people infected with HIV, and may help to retain staff concerned about the risk of exposure to HIV in the workplace.
The proper use of supplies, staff education and supervision needs should be outlined clearly in institutional policies and guidelines.
Regular supervision in health care settings can help to reduce risk of occupational hazards in the workplace.
Prevention of exposure remains the most effective measure to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to health workers. The priority must be to train health workers in prevention methods and to provide them with the necessary materials and protective equipment.