Types of Bloodborne Diseases
HIV and AIDS
HIV attacks your body’s ability to protect itself against disease and it causes AIDS.
Approximately 1.1 million people in the US are living with HIV/AIDS. Approximately 50,000 people become infected with HIV each year. About 14,000 people every year in the USA die from AIDS.
Symptoms may or may not be present. You may be infected for years and not know it. Only a blood test can determine the infection, not symptoms:
- Weight loss
The HIV virus is fragile and dies within seconds outside the body. The amount of HIV present in the body fluid and the conditions will determine how long the virus lives.
HIV is primarily spread by sexual contact with an infected person or by sharing needles and/or syringes (primarily for drug injection). Babies may become infected before/during birth or through breast-feeding. Only a fraction of less than 1% of the people contract the virus from providing medical care.
HIV it is not spread by casual contact like handshakes, sharing food, doorknobs, sneezing, toilet seats, swimming pools, etc.
There is no vaccination.
Hepatitis B virus reproduces in the liver causing inflammation and possibly cirrhosis or liver cancer.
HBV affects over 1.25 million people in the US. About 70,000 people/year become infected with HBV. Each year, about 5,000 people die as a result of liver disease caused by HBV. Infections have decreased since 1982 because of the HBV vaccine.
Symptoms may or may not be present. The older, the more apt to have symptoms. Only a blood test can determine the infection. Symptoms may include:
- yellow skin (jaundice)
- yellowing eyes
- loss of appetite, nausea
- dark urine
- clay-colored bowel movements
- joint pain
- abdominal discomfort
Up to 100 times easier to catch than HIV. HBV can live outside of body for at least 7 days and longer.
90% adults who contract hepatitis B clear the virus from their systems within a few months and develop immunity. About 10% become chronic — the virus stays in the blood, infecting liver cells damaging them over time.
HBV is primarily spread by sexual contact with an infected person, sharing needles and/or syringes (primarily for drug injection), from an infected mother to her baby during birth, or sharps exposures on the job.
However, still like HIV it is not spread by casual contact like handshakes, sharing food, doorknobs, sneezing, toilet seats, swimming pools, etc.
Hepatitis B Vaccine
There is a vaccine available given in 3 doses over a period of 6 months. It is safe and effective.
Booster doses of hepatitis B vaccine are not recommended. Immune memory remains indefinitely following immunization.
The HBV vaccine must be offered free to employees who face occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens.
Occupationally exposed employees include those who:
- Administer first aid
- Provide medical aid to students
- Assist in bathroom care
- Work in medical or dental offices
- Perform custodial duties involving the cleaning and decontamination of surfaces that may be contaminated with blood and or other potentially infections materials (OPIM).
- Handle Regulated medical waste
If an employee does not want the vaccine a declination statement must be signed.
Sample HBV Vaccine Declination Statement
I understand that due to my occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials I may be at risk of acquiring hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. I have been given the opportunity to be vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine, at no charge to myself. However, I decline hepatitis B vaccination at this time. I understand that by declining this vaccine, I continue to be at risk of acquiring hepatitis B, a serious disease. If in the future I continue to have occupational exposure to blood or other potentially infectious materials and I want to be vaccinated with hepatitis B vaccine, I can receive the vaccination series at no charge to me.
HCV reproduces in the liver causing inflammation and possibly cirrhosis or liver cancer. Disease can incubate for decades.
4.1 million carriers in the USA. About 26,000 new cases each year. Deaths from chronic disease each year: 8,000-10,000.
About 80% of exposed people develop a chronic infection. 20% are able to clear the virus by naturally building immunity.
Symptoms are not a reliable way to detect HCV. A blood test is needed. Symptoms may look the same as HBV.
Unlike HIV or HBV, HCV is spread primarily through parenteral contact:
- Illegal injection drug use
- Transfusion or transplant from infected donor
Occupational exposure to blood mostly through needle sticks
It is also spread through:
- Birth to HCV-infected mother
- Multiple sex partners
There is no cure or vaccination.