Types of Exposures and Risk for HIV Transmission
Of the 54 HCWs with documented transmission, 46 (85%) were exposed to HIV through percutaneous injuries (injuries penetrating the skin, such as from a needlestick). Another 5 had mucocutaneous exposures (they were exposed to body fluids from an HIV-infected person through the mucous membranes or skin); 2 HCWs had both percutaneous and mucocutaneous exposures; and 1 had an unknown route of exposure. Forty-nine of the 54 HCWs were exposed to the blood of an HIV-infected person, 1 to visibly bloody fluid, I to an unspecified fluid, and 3 to concentrated virus in a laboratory. Studies suggest that several factors may affect the risk for HIV transmission through an occupational exposure, including the quantity of blood or body fluid, the concentration of HIV in the blood or fluid, and the exposed person's underlying health and immune status.