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Surveillance of Health Care Workers with HIV/AIDS.

Date: March 1, 1999
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Of the adults reported with AIDS in the United States through December 31, 1998, 21,267 had been employed in health care. These cases represented 5.1 percent of the 417,885 AIDS cases reported to CDC for whom occupational information was known (information on employment in the health care setting was missing for 261,854 reported AIDS cases).

The type of job is known for 20,071 (94 percent) of the 21,267 reported health care workers with AIDS. The specific occupations are as follows: 1,664 physicians, 111 surgeons, 4,698 nurses, 446 dental workers, 402 paramedics, 2,817 technicians, 985 therapists, and 4,553 health aides. The remainder are maintenance workers, administrative staff, etc. Overall, 75 percent of the health care workers with AIDS, including 1,303 physicians, 85 surgeons, 3,521 nurses, 359 dental workers, and 289 paramedics, are reported to have died.

CDC is aware of 54 health care workers in the United States who have been documented as having seroconverted to HIV following occupational exposures. Twenty-five have developed AIDS. These individuals who seroconverted include 19 laboratory workers (16 of whom were clinical laboratory workers)22 nurses, 6 physicians, 2 surgical technicians, 1 dialysis technician, 1 respiratory therapist, 1 health aide, 1 embalmer/morgue technician, and 1 housekeeper/maintenance worker. The exposures were as follows: 46 had percutaneous (puncture/cut injury) exposure, 5 had mucocutaneous (mucous membrane and/or skin) exposure, 2 had both percutaneous and mucocutaneous exposure, and 1 had an unknown route of exposure. Forty-nine exposures were to HIV-infected blood, 3 to concentrated virus in the laboratory, 1 to visible bloody fluid, and one to an unspecified fluid.

CDC is also aware of 134 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 Spanish: 1-800-344-SIDA Deaf: 1-800-243-7889
CDC National Prevention Information Network: P.O. Box 6003 Rockville Maryland 20849-6003 1-800-458-5231
Internet Resources: NCHSTP: DHAP: NPIN: