Living with HIV/AIDS  

Patients Transmitting HIV to Health Care Workers

In health care settings, such as hospitals and doctors’ offices, workers have been infected with HIV after being stuck with needles containing HIV-infected blood. Less frequently, workers have also contracted HIV after infected blood gets into an open cut or a mucous membrane (such as the eyes or inside of the nose) (1). Research suggests that infection after a needle stick injury is rare, happening about 3 times per 1000 injuries involving HIV-infected blood (2).

Health Care Workers Transmitting HIV to Patients

As of 2003, there has been only one documented case of a health care worker giving HIV to patients in the United States. In this case, an HIV-infected dentist gave HIV to six patients. Investigations of 63 HIV+ physicians, surgeons, and dentists and their more than 22,000 patients found no other cases of this type of transmission in the United States (1).

1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Fact Sheet: HIV and Its Transmission. Atlanta, Georgia: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003. Retrieved on January 14, 2004 from

2. Avert. Healthcare Workers, AIDS & Prevention. 2003. Retrieved on December 22, 2003 from

3. Gerberding, J.L. Prevention of HIV Transmission in Health Care Settings. HIV InSite Knowledge Base Chapter, 1998. Retrieved on January 15, 2004 from

© Sociometrics Corporation, 2004