It is rare that you can get HIV infection due to caring an patient with such illness. Yet, it is never unnecessary for you to pay attention to avoid being transmitted. To prevent even rare occurrences, you should follow some safety tips when taking care of an HIV patient.
How HIV is transmitted
HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus, which causes AIDS, or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. In order to know how HIV is transmitted, you should have the concept about which bodily fluids may be the transmitters and which is not. Bodily fluids that can transmit HIV include, blood, vaginal fluids, saliva (has not been documented) while other bodily fluids that can not transmit HIV are tears, sweat, vomit, urine, and feces. However, you should be careful with both of them.
Besides that, open wounds or sores, mucous membranes (moist areas of skin like the mouth, the vagina, and the eyes) and even through tiny cracks in the skin that you can’t even see are also the environment for HIV virus attack.
What safety tips are
When you have to do some caring tasks that contact with blood or body fluids from HIV patient, you must protect yourself by wearing vinyl or latex gloves and covering any cuts, sores, or breaks in your exposed skin. Similarly, although you can not be transmitted through body products, it is necessary to wear rubber gloves when cleaning articles soiled with urine, feces, or vomit in order to avoid infection with other germs. Especially when you clean up the wound, take precautions and always wear gloves.
You should also pay attention to your personal belongings. Do not share razors or other sharp objects with HIV patient because blood on these items will transmit HIV virus to you.
Use plastic bags
Like wearing rubber gloves, you should use plastic bags to contain the all items that are soiled with blood, semen, or vaginal fluid and also keep the other items not be affected. Make sure you close the bag carefully before placing it in a trash container. You need to comply with regulations on waste handling of HIV patients under the guidance of doctor or local health department to protect the safety for everyone.
Be careful with needles
When a person who has HIV is injecting medicine or must test his or her own blood (for diabetes), caregiver has to contact with needles or lancets. In such cases, carefully handle to avoid sticking yourself. Remember not to use your hands directly when put caps back on needles. Pick up used syringes by the barrel and place them in a puncture-proof container.
Clean up after body fluids
Of course, leaving blood stains on the surface of certain materials will also be the causative factor of HIV infection. Clean up the surface as soon as it contacts with blood, or body fluids likes semen, or vaginal fluids, etc. Always apply the safety measures when handling. By this, you can kill the virus on the surface and reduce your risk of infection.
Caring for a patient with HIV means that you can have some risks. However, you can prevent it from occuring by understanding that when you can get infection and how to get rid of high risk things. So, you can protect yourself well when caring them.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnose or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017
HIV: Tips for Caregivers to Avoid Ìnection – Topic Overview http://www.webmd.com/hiv-aids/tc/hiv-tips-for-caregivers-to-avoid-infection-topic-overview Accessed October 12, 2016
Protect yourself as an HIV Caregiver http://www.everydayhealth.com/hiv-aids/protect-yourself-as-hiv-caregiver.aspx Accessed October 12, 2016
How To Protect Yourself http://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/just-diagnosed-with-hiv-aids/helping-someone-recently-diagnosed/how-to-protect-yourself/ Accessed October 12, 2016
Caring Safely for People with HIV or AIDS http://www.avsf.bm/caring.html Accessed October 12, 2016