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Health-Care Workers Exposed to HIV on Job Need Preventive Treatment

of nurses surveyed reported having been injured once in their careers by a “sharp” contaminated with a patient’s blood, while 14 percent reported having been injured at least twice, according to Frank Myers, director of clinical epidemiology and safety systems at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego.

Fifty-six percent of nurses, surveyed, however, reported no such injuries, said Myers, whose study will be published in the journal Nursing 2007.

On the positive side, hospitals are worrying more about potential risks on the job and companies are developing safer medical devices, such as syringes that retract needles when they’re removed from patients.

“The more years of experience, the more likely you are to have had such an injury,” Myers said, “driven in part by both the years at risk and the earlier years of having fewer safety devices and a poorer safety environment.”
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