In light of the low rate of transmission and advances in treatments for hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV, the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America today released updated guidance for healthcare personnel living with these bloodborne pathogens based on the latest available science. The SHEA White Paper, "Management of Healthcare Personnel Living with Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus in United States Healthcare Institutions," was published online in the journal Infection Control & Hospital Epidemiology. SHEA has been at the forefront of this issue since its initial set of recommendations was issued in 1990.
Experience and evidence accumulated over the last decade, which have made it necessary to revise the guidance. The guidance protects the privacy and health of both healthcare workers and patients. Advances in care have reduced the risk for transmission of these bloodborne infections, making it safer for patients and healthcare personnel. Still, appropriate oversight and training remain foundational."
David K. Henderson, MD, current SHEA President, and co-chair of the multidisciplinary panel that developed the white paper
The recommendations, which update SHEA's 2010 guideline, reflect experience that underscores the low risk of transmission from healthcare personnel to patients. The updated guidance also considers interventions that reduce risk for occupational exposures and injuries, as well as advances in antiviral therapy and treatments that cure hepatitis C and reduce circulating HIV to undetectable levels in nearly all individuals living with the disease.
The document clarifies the methods of oversight for healthcare personnel living with HIV or hepatitis, especially those responsible for carrying out exposure-prone procedures. It reflects many facilities' and schools' existing policies, while aligning with the overall principles contained in recent guidelines from Canada and Australia.
Henderson, D.K., et al. (2020) Management of healthcare personnel living with hepatitis B, hepatitis C, or human immunodeficiency virus in US healthcare institutions. Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. doi.org/10.1017/ice.2020.458.