Healthcare Workers: Preventing HIV Infection

HIV is spread from person to person through body fluids. To prevent the spread of HIV, follow the CDC infection control guidelines. These guidelines are there for your health and safety.

Use CDC guidelines

Hands putting on surgical gloves.

Learn and follow standard precautions. Also, review your employer’s policies. Below are general tips based on the CDC guidelines. They can help protect you from HIV:

  • Wear gloves anytime you may contact any body fluid (except sweat), mucous membrane, or broken skin. Change gloves and wash your hands between patients.

  • Wash hands fully after contact with body fluids. Also, wash right away after taking off gloves.

  • Dispose of needles safely. Put them in a puncture-resistant container right after use. Do not recap, bend, or break needles. Do not remove them from the syringe.

  • Wear protective clothing like masks, goggles, and gowns anytime body fluids may splash or spray.

  • Keep manual ventilation devices handy. Disposable devices, such as resuscitation bags and mouthpieces, should be easy to see and reach.

Post-exposure prophylaxis

In the event that you believe you have been exposed to HIV, it is important to take quick action.

  1. Get evaluated, either at your local ER (emergency room) or at employee health (this should be within hours of exposure).

  2. Start post-exposure prophylaxis. This is medicine taken if you may have been exposed to HIV.

  3. Follow up as directed while on post-exposure prophylaxis.

CDC Guidelines

The CDC's infection control guidelines, called Standard Precautions, help prevent the spread of all germs. This includes HIV. Follow them per your employer’s policies.

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