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Occupational exposures; the difference?
May 26, 2013

Greetings from Canada Shannon!

Recently I read that when it comes to occupational exposures the vast majority have been due to needle sticks and that transmission via blood splash to the eye, nose, mouth, etc is only theoretical. Is that true or false? Are there actually documented cases of blood splash leading to hiv and if so what were the circumstances?

I spoke with my Doctor about this and he told me that in many cases PEP can be offered for a blood splash exposure but that he and others do not recommend it like they would where a needlestick is involved. Is there a reason for that?

Regard, Chad

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi Yes theoretically HIV transmission can happen through splash but needle stick carries the higher risk, but it is only at about a 3% risk. I have not seen any documented cases of splash HIV transmission all of the occupational exposures I have seen documented are from needle sticks. Placing someone on PEP after occupational exposure is a good practice and yes most of the exposure recommendations are for needle stick and not splash because of the reduced risk that it carries. If you want to get on PEP it needs to be within 72 hours of the exposure.

Be well and get tested

Shannon



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