Surveillance of Health Care Workers with HIV/AIDS
Of the adults reported with AIDS in the United States through December 31, 1996, 18,856 had been employed in health care. These cases represented 5.1 percent of the 373,369 AIDS cases reported to CDC for whom occupational information was known (information on employment in the health care setting was missing for 200,431 reported AIDS cases).
The type of job is known for 17,857 (95 percent) of the 18,856 reported health care workers with AIDS. The specific occupations are as follows: 1,545 physicians, 104 surgeons, 4,203 nurses, 424 dental workers, 353 paramedics, 2,526 technicians, 908 therapists, and 3,892 health aides. The remainder are maintenance workers, administrative staff, etc. Overall, 76 percent of the health care workers with AIDS, including 1,218 physicians, 81 surgeons, 3,194 nurses, 332 dental workers, and 246 paramedics, are reported to have died.
CDC is aware of 52 health care workers in the United States who have been documented as having seroconverted to HIV following occupational exposures. Twenty-four have developed AIDS. These individuals who seroconverted include 19 laboratory workers (16 of whom were clinical laboratory workers), 21 nurses, 6 physicians, 2 surgical technicians, 1 dialysis technician, 1 respiratory therapist, 1 health aide, and 1 housekeeper/maintenance worker. The exposures were as follows: 45 had percutaneous (puncture/cut injury) exposure, 5 had mucocutaneous (mucous membrane and/or skin) exposure, 1 had both percutaneous and mucocutaneous exposure, and 1 had an unknown route of exposure. Forty-seven exposures were to HIVinfected blood, 3 to concentrated virus in a laboratory, 1 to visibly bloody fluid, and 1 to an unspecified fluid.
CDC is also aware of 111 other cases of HIV infection or AIDS among health care workers who have not reported other risk factors for HIV infection and who report a history of occupational exposure to blood, body fluids, or HIV-infected laboratory material, but for whom seroconversion after exposure was not documented. The number of these workers who acquired their infection through occupational exposures is unknown.
For more information:
CDC National AIDS Hotline: 1-800-342-AIDS (2437)
CDC National AIDS Clearinghouse: 1-800-458-5231
This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.