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Open Access Research article

Self-reported occupational exposure to HIV and factors influencing its management practice: a study of healthcare workers in Tumbi and Dodoma Hospitals, Tanzania

Kijakazi O Mashoto1*, Godfrey M Mubyazi1, Hussein Mohamed2 and Hamisi M Malebo1

Author affiliations

1 National Institute for Medical Research, P.O.Box 9653, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

2 Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, P.O.Box 65000, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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Citation and License

BMC Health Services Research 2013, 13:276  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-13-276

Published: 17 July 2013

Abstract

Background

Blood borne infectious agents such as hepatitis B virus (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and human immune deficiency virus (HIV) constitute a major occupational hazard for healthcare workers (HCWs). To some degree it is inevitable that HCWs sustain injuries from sharp objects such as needles, scalpels and splintered bone during execution of their duties. However, in Tanzania, there is little or no information on factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of self-reported occupational exposure to HIV among HCWs and explore factors that influence the practice of managing occupational exposure to HIV by HCWs in Tanzania.

Methods

Self-administered questionnaire was designed to gather information of healthcare workers’ occupational exposures in the past 12 months and circumstances in which these injuries occurred. Practice of managing occupational exposure was assessed by the following questions:

Results

Nearly half of the HCWs had experienced at least one occupational injury in the past 12 months. Though most of the occupational exposures to HIV were experienced by female nurses, non-medical hospital staff received PEP more frequently than nurses and doctors. Doctors and nurses frequently encountered occupational injuries in surgery room and labor room respectively. HCWs with knowledge on the possibility of HIV transmission and those who knew whom to contact in event of occupational exposure to HIV were less likely to have poor practice of managing occupational exposure.

Conclusion

Needle stick injuries and splashes are common among HCWs at Tumbi and Dodoma hospitals. Knowledge of the risk of HIV transmission due to occupational exposure and knowing whom to contact in event of exposure predicted practice of managing the exposure. Thus provision of health education on occupational exposure may strengthen healthcare workers’ practices to manage occupational exposure.

Keywords:
HIV; Occupational exposure; Healthcare workers