Perhaps not surprisingly, it is medical workers such as nurses who are most at risk for occupational HIV transmission. The good news is that such instances are fairly rare. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that there were only 58 such confirmed cases as of the end of 2013.
Of course, confirmed cases do not provide the whole picture. There could be unreported cases, for example, and even if a worker does not end up with an HIV infection, there is the stress and worry that goes with something such as a needle stick injury. Furthermore, infection prevention regimens can be harsh, causing conditions such as fatigue and pancreatitis.
Safety precautions for employers to take
Not all medical facilities are created equal. One facility may use retractable needles, have administrative controls and provide gear such as eyewear and masks. Meanwhile, another facility may skimp on some of these measures. If you have been put at risk for HIV infection, even if you ended up not infected, you could qualify for worker’s compensation because you had to miss work. There could be other nuances involved in your case, too (for example, side effects from prevention protocols might affect your ability to work), so speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Unfortunately, worker’s compensation does not cover matters such as emotional pain and suffering.
If you have been through a needle stick injury, patient bite or another possible mode of HIV transmission, it is important to speak up about it. Follow your employer’s reporting policies and get medical attention immediately. Even if the patient has recently tested HIV negative, he or she could be in seroconversion. People with HIV can test negative for the virus anywhere from one week to one year after exposure. In fact, your employer may not allow you to work during a certain time frame because of this.
For your own health and well-being, it is important to move quickly after possible HIV exposure. Document everything that occurs and follow up on all recommended treatment plans so that you have a well-laid-out medical history available should you need to pursue a case.
Are you looking for Hospital Workers and Nursing Home Workers to help with your case? Contact us today for a free consultation.