Universal precautions are a set of precautions designed to prevent transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and other bloodborne pathogens when providing first aid or healthcare. Universal precautions apply to blood and to other body fluids containing visible blood. Under universal precautions, blood and certain body fluids of all patients are considered potentially infectious for HIV, HBV and other bloodborne pathogens.
Standard Precautions are designed to reduce the risk of transmission of microorganisms from both recognized and unrecognized sources of infection in hospitals. Standard precautions apply to:
Standard Precautions include:
Protective measures using universal precautions apply to:
Blood is the single most important source of HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens in the occupational setting. Infection control efforts for HIV, HBV, and other bloodborne pathogens must focus on preventing exposures to blood as well as on delivery of HBV immunization.
Universal precautions do not apply to the following fluids and materials unless they contain visible blood:
Universal precautions involve the use of personal protective equipment such as gloves, gowns, aprons, masks, or protective eyewear, which can reduce the risk of exposure of the healthcare worker's skin or mucous membranes to potentially infective materials.
In addition, under universal precautions, it is recommended that all healthcare workers take precautions to prevent injuries caused by needles, scalpels, and other sharp instruments or devices.
Pregnant healthcare workers are not known to be at greater risk of contracting HIV infection than are healthcare workers who are not pregnant; however, if a healthcare worker develops HIV infection during pregnancy, the infant is at risk of infection resulting from perinatal transmission.
Because of this risk, pregnant healthcare workers should be especially familiar with, and strictly adhere to, precautions to minimize the risk of HIV transmission.
Robert is interviewing for a nursing position with St. Vincent Hospital in Portland, OR. During the interview he is asked to explain the difference between "universal precautions" and "personal protective equipment."