Since its identification in 1985, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has challenged several aspects of health care delivery. Because HIV is a blood-borne infectious disease, from the early days of the epidemic, concern was raised about risks of occupational exposures and infections among health care workers. Despite the development of highly active antiretroviral therapy, which has effectively modulated HIV into a chronic disease in many settings, risks of occupational infection with 3 blood-borne pathogens remain in the health care workplace. Using the case of a house officer who has a needlestick during a resuscitation attempt, prevention of needlesticks including universal precautions and postexposure management of occupational HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C exposures is discussed.
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