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HIV in Veterinary Medicine
Oct 29, 2001

I recently agreed to be a spoke model for an HIV prevention campaign. I've been living with HIV for 9 years now and work in the emergency veterinary field. I know that I'm at higher risk from contracting opportunistic infections from our patients then my co-workers contracting HIV from me. Unfortunately, I have been unable to find any literature that speaks to occupational risk factors in the veterinary field. I would assume like any other medical profession, the risk is in needles. However, my patients are animals and not at risk for HIV. What about any questions or concerns my co-workers might have about getting bitten or scratched?

Response from Mr. Kull

There doesn't seem to be any evidence to support your co-workers being at any real risk for HIV infection by working with you. As far as I know, there is no evidence of occupational transmission between co-workers. Clearly the concern is around co-workers coming into contact with your blood; only you can gauge the likelihood of that occurring and any precautions you might set in place to reduce the odds of that happening.

There is no evidence that animals transmit HIV. It is important to be clear with your co-workers about that.

In terms of opportunistic infections, try looking at the CDC's publication, "Preventing Infection from Pets" (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pubs/brochure/oi_pets.htm).

RMK



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