HIV and other blood borne diseases such as Hepatitis B may be transmitted in health care settings from a patient to a health care worker, from a health care worker to a patient or from a patient to a patient. HIV is likely to be present in body fluids particularly where visible blood is present. The occupational risk of becoming HIV infected from patients in health care settings is mostly associated with needle stick injuries. Patient to patient transmission usually results from contaminated equipment, which have been incorrectly or inadequately disinfected.
Minimal infection control measures such as washing hands with soap and water, can prevent transmission during care. Nevertheless, all health care workers must adopt appropriate infection risk assessment and apply accident prevention procedures. The context and environment in which health care is provided must offer safety to the health care provider. If such measures are employed, most patient care settings should not pose any significant risk of HIV transmission.