PEP - Page 2
The risk is reduced if the injury occurs with a solid sharp object like a scalpel blade as the healthcare worker is usually exposed to smaller amounts of blood.
Exposure to infected fluids such as blood. If infected blood is splashed into the eye or mouth, or comes into contact with skin that has cuts, abrasions or is damaged in any way, then the healthcare worker is at risk.
This risk is less than with needle stick injuries. Contact with body fluids such as saliva and urine do not pose a risk, as they contain insignificant quantities of the HI virus.
Non-medical people can also be put at similar risk through accidental injury or exposure to blood when assisting at an accident in the workplace or on the road, for example. If any such exposure occurs and the HIV status of the person who is being treated or helped is positive or unknown, then medical advice must be sought immediately.
PEP, if it is indicated, needs to be started as soon as possible and definitely within 72 hours of the exposure, to be effective.
The Hospital or Health centre has undertaken to provide PEP to all healthcare workers who are accidentally put at risk. They will usually be able to obtain treatment at the place where they work or they will be referred to an appropriate facility.
A non-medical person who believes he or she may have been exposed to HIV through an accident or work related injury should request treatment at the nearest Hospital or Health centre or can also be prescribed privately and will be covered by most medical aids.