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Management of Healthcare Workers Infected With Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or Other Bloodborne Pathogens

  • AIDS/TB Committee of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

Abstract

This article provides the current recommendations of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) regarding the management of healthcare workers infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV), or the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). For the reasons cited in the article, SHEA now maintains that separate virus-specific management strategies are appropriate for healthcare workers who are infected with these unrelated viruses. SHEA emphasizes the use of appropriate infection control procedures to minimize exposure of patients or providers to blood, emphasizes that transfers of blood from patients to providers and from providers to patients should be avoided, and argues that infected health-care workers should not be prohibited from participating in patient-care activities solely on the basis of their blood-borne pathogen infection. SHEA recommends that hepatitis B e-antigen–positive healthcare workers routinely should double glove and should not perform those activities that have been identified epidemiologically as associated with a risk for provider-to-patient HBV transmission despite the use of appropriate infection control procedures. SHEA also recommends that HCV- and HIV-infected providers use double gloving for procedures, but recommends that these providers not be excluded from any aspect of patient care unless epidemiologically incriminated in the transmission of these infections despite adequate precautions. SHEA argues for comprehensive education concerning bloodborne pathogens for all healthcare providers and trainees and against mandatory pathogen-specific educational requirements for infected providers. SHEA recommends against specific competence-monitoring procedures directed at these healthcare workers infected with bloodborne pathogens, arguing for managing infected providers in the context of a comprehensive approach to the management of all impaired providers. SHEA emphasizes the importance of worker privacy and medical confidentiality. SHEA emphasizes the importance of offering employees who have disabilities reasonable accommodation for their disabilities. The article discusses exposure management in detail and, in general, recommends adherence to existing guidelines for managing exposures to these agents. Finally, SHEA recommends against routine mandatory testing of providers. Specific details and the rationale for these recommendations are included in the body of the article.

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Management of Healthcare Workers Infected With Hepatitis B Virus, Hepatitis C Virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or Other Bloodborne Pathogens

  • AIDS/TB Committee of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

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