Ever since the rapid spread of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), there has been increasing concern about preventing the spread of HIV infection and other bloodborne diseases. Over the years various government agencies have issued and updated a whole series of recommendations and enforceable standards to address this problem.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, (CDC), issued infection control recommendations that began with Universal Precautions, and ultimately resulted in what are called Standard Precautions. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, (OSHA), put forth enforceable programs and compliance directives that included Universal Precautions, but also addressed issues such as immunization, record-keeping and post-exposure actions. Most recently OSHA has issued a further directive addressing the dangers of sharps injuries on the job that must be implemented by April 2001.
These should not be seen as separate and piecemeal efforts, but parts of an overall attempt to address the dangers of acquiring bloodborne infections such as AIDS, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C in the healthcare environment. This program has been designed to integrate the actions and precautions called for by these federal programs and directives into a single program of bloodborne safety.
Revision includes updated statistics, new emphasis on hepatitis C, and addresses the most recent needlestick safety and record keeping directives from OSHA.