Needle Sticks, Sharps and Bloodborne Pathogen Exposures

 


Sharps

Risk of Infection

Risk of HIV Infection
The average risk of HIV infection due to all types of reported percutaneous exposures to HIV-infected blood is 0.3%. A percutaneous exposure is defined as a needlestick or laceration/puncture with a sharp object. The risk appears to be greater than 0.3% for exposure to HIV (+) patients involving deep injury, visible blood on the device causing the injury or a device previously placed in the source patient’s vein or artery.

Risk of Hepatitis B or Hepatitis C Infection
The average risk of Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in susceptible persons after percutaneous exposure to HBV-infected blood is 6 – 30%. The risk of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection after percutaneous exposure to HCV-infected blood is 7.4% (95% CI 3.9%-12.5%).

Prophylaxis for Exposure to HIV (Revised Sept. 2013)
Prophylaxis is being offered to employees and students who have a percutaneous injury or contamination of mucous membranes or non-intact skin exposure to HIV during the performance of their duties. Prophylaxis in these circumstances is voluntary. The FDA has not approved anti-retroviral therapy for post-exposure use; therefore, use of these medications post-exposure for healthcare workers/students is considered investigational. The CDC says, “Because most occupational exposures to HIV do not result in infection transmission, potential toxicity must be carefully considered when prescribing post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP)”.