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<< 5.2 Malaria
5.3 What about HIV/ AIDS?
Safe practice and safe behaviour are the key to avoidance.
- Assume all patients could be HIV positive and act accordingly.
- Assume that all blood and body fluids are potentially infective and take necessary precautions.
- Beware of contaminating any open cuts you might have.
- Take a personal supply of surgical gloves with you so that you can double glove for procedures.
- Take a visor or spare pair of glasses to protect your eyes while operating.
- Take every care to avoid needle stick injuries – especially when tired or with unfamiliar assistants.
- Make sure you know the universal precautions to take if injury/contamination occurs.
- Take a course of in-date anti-retrovirals with you to use as post-exposure prophylaxis if an injury occurs (see below). Keep them with you when operating so that you can start them immediately if needed.
- Refuse blood transfusion – unless in a dire emergency and you know the donor is HIV negative.
- Don't be paranoid but do take every precaution.
Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) for occupational exposure to HIV
- Follow normal UK protocol as far as possible.
- Start taking PEP within 2 hours of any high risk injury, if possible, and continue for 28 days.
- Establish the status of the source patient, if possible.
- Seek UK advice as to whether you should return home sooner rather than later.
>> 5.4 Other personal health and safety matters