policies for healthcare facilities
Institutional guidelines: Institutional guidelines for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) should be well established in all healthcare facilities. HIV testing, counseling, and antiretrovirals must be available. All healthcare facilities should train personnel on proper infection control procedures and on the importance of reporting occupational exposures to HIV. These facilities should also develop a system to monitor reporting and management of occupational exposures.
Safety devices: Effective safety devices that can help prevent injuries from needles and other sharp objects used in the hospital should be available. For instance, some needles have built-in safety controls that help reduce the risk of needlestick injuries before, during, or after use. Proper and consistent use of such safety devices should be evaluated.
Monitor the effects of PEP: More data are needed about the safety and efficacy of PEP regimens, especially those regimens that include new antiretrovirals. Improved communication about potential side effects before PEP is started and close follow-up of healthcare workers who are receiving treatment are needed to increase compliance with the PEP.
universal precautions to prevent exposure
Universal precautions are precautions that are taken with all patients. Healthcare personnel should assume that the blood and body fluids from all patients are potentially infectious. Since everyone is treated the same, healthcare providers do not have to make assumptions about the risks of infection.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that healthcare providers routinely use barriers (like gloves and/or goggles) when contact with blood or body fluids is possible.
If the skin comes into contact with blood or other body fluids, the area should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
Mucous membranes (like the eyes) that were exposed to the virus should be flushed with water.
Cuts, sores, or breaks on the exposed skin of both the caregiver and patient should be covered with bandages.
Needles and other sharp instruments should be used only when medically necessary and handled appropriately.
Medical instruments and other contaminated equipment should be disinfected.
Safety devices that have been developed to help prevent needlestick injuries should be used whenever possible. For instance, some needles have built-in safety controls that reduce the risk of needle stick injury before, during or after use. If used properly, these types of devices may reduce the risk of exposure to HIV.
Many skin injuries in healthcare settings are related to the disposal of sharp medical equipment. Strategies for safer disposal, including safer design of disposal containers and placement of containers, are currently being developed.