Despite the very low risk of seroconversion, occupational HIV exposure is a very stressful situation. Our new article in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine provides guidance on how such exposures should be managed to minimise risks and improve health outcomes for staff exposed to contaminated body fluids.
Careful risk communication can help in addressing anxiety. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is seldom indicated for occupational exposures if the index case is of unknown HIV status, as the transmission risk is very low. PEP is indicated to reduce the transmission risk following high-risk incidents – exposures where the index case is known to be HIV-positive with a detectable viral load – and is most effective if started promptly.