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HIV-infected health care workers: Guidance on management and patient notification

  • Document type:
    Best practice guidance
  • Author:
    Department of Health
  • Published date:
    28 July 2005
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This document replaces guidance published in 1998. It provides updated advice on patient notification exercises for HIV infected health care workers.


This guidance replaces the previous version published in 1998 and includes updated advice on patient notification exercises.

The document reflects the new policy on patient notification exercises when a health care worker is found to be infected with HIV, which was announced in November 2001. It follows expert advice from the Expert Advisory Group on AIDS (EAGA) and UK Advisory Panel for Health Care Workers Infected with Blood-borne Viruses (UKAP). They advise that it is no longer necessary to notify every patient who has undergone an exposure prone procedure by an HIV infected health care worker because of the low risk of transmission and the anxiety caused to patients and the wider public. However, the long-standing restriction on HIV infected health care workers carrying out exposure prone procedures remains.

It is recommended that the decision on whether a patient notification exercise should be undertaken should be assessed on a case-by-case basis using a criteria based framework, as set out in this document. In line with Shifting the Balance of Power, Directors of Public Health of Primary Care Trusts will be responsible for deciding whether patient notification is necessary, although UKAP will be available to provide advice.

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