fbpx

Comparing hepatitis B, C and HIV for the workplace

Posted 17 September, 2020
Similar Resources
View Resource
View Resource
View Resource

Comparing hepatitis B, C and HIV for the workplace

Hepatitis B (HBV, hep B)

What is it?

  • A virus that causes inflammation of the liver
  • Can progress to cirrhosis and  liver cancer 
  • Chronic in approximately 5% of  adults and 90-95% of newborns where there is no intervention  at birth 

Incubation period

30 to 180 days

Window period

3 to 6 months

Transmission

  • Blood-to-blood contact
  • Sexual contact
  • Vertical transmission

Risk behaviours

  • Sexual contact
  • Use of unsterile injecting equipment
  • Use of unsterile tattooing & body piercing equipment
  • Receiving blood products (prior to 1990 in Australia)

Symptoms

Many people may have no symptoms – but can include:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea and vomiting
  • fatigue
  • abdominal pain
  • muscle and joint pain
  • dark urine and light stools
  • jaundice

Treatment

  • Goal of treatment is to reduce viral load to undetectable
  • Pegylated interferon – 1 injection per week for 48 weeks
  • Antiviral tablets – lifelong treatment

Vaccination

  • Yes – 3 injections over 6 months for adults (4 injections for children –part of childhood immunisation schedule)

Prevention

  • Vaccination
  • HBV Immunoglobulin (HBIG) – commenced within 72 hours of possible exposure
  • Avoid blood-to-blood contact
  • Do not re-use or share any injecting equipment
  • Do not share any tattooing or body piercing equipment
  • Practice safe sex – using condoms and lube
  • Avoid sharing personal it ems (e.g. razor and toothbrush)

Hepatitis C (HCV, hep C) 

What is it?

  • A virus that causes inflammation  of the liver 
  • Can progress to cirrhosis and  liver cancer 
  • Chronic for around 75% of  people 

Incubation period

2 weeks to 6 months

Window period

3 to 6 months

Transmission

Blood-to-blood contact

Risk behaviours

  • Use of unsterile injecting equipment
  • Use of unsterile tattooing or body piercing equipment
  • Receiving blood products (prior to 1990 in Australia)

Symptoms

Many people may have no symptoms – but can include:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • fatigue
  • nausea and vomiting
  • muscle aches and pains
  • abdominal discomfort
  • mood swings, anxiety, depression
  • skin rashes

Treatment

  • Treatment can cure HCV
  • Direct acting antiviral (DAA) tablets, no injections
  • 95% of people cured
  • Tablets taken daily for 8-12 weeks
  • Little to no side effects

Vaccine

  • No vaccine available

Prevention

  • Avoid blood-to-blood contact
  • Do not re-use or share any injecting equipment
  • Do not share any tattooing or body piercing equipment
  • Avoid sharing personal grooming items (e.g. razor and toothbrush)

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)

What is it?

  • A virus that attacks the immune system 
  • Can be managed with effectively with treatment 
  • A person on treatment can have an ‘undetectable’ viral load, meaning they cannot transmit HIV

Incubation period

1 to 4 weeks

Window period

6 to 12 weeks

Transmission

  • Blood-to-blood contact
  • Sexual contact with a HIV-positive person who has a detectable viral load

Risk behaviours

  • Sexual contact
  • Use of unsterile injecting equipment
  • Use of unsterile tattooing & body piercing equipment
  • Receiving blood products (prior to 1990 in Australia)

Symptoms

Many people may have no symptoms – but can include:

  • flu-like symptoms
  • fever or chills
  • swollen lymph nodes
  • rash (similar to boils)
  • nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea
  • muscle aches
  • sore throat or cough

Treatment

  • Goal of treatment is to reduce viral load to undetectable
  • Treatment is tablets taken for life. The latest medications have few side effects and are safe for long-term use.

Vaccination

  • No vaccine available

Prevention

  • Practice safe sex – using pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), condoms and lube, or have sexual contact with someone who has an undetectable viral load
  • Avoid blood-to-blood contact
  • Do not re-use or share any injecting equipment
  • Do not share any tattooing or body piercing equipment
  • Avoid sharing personal grooming items (e.g. razor)
  • Treatment as Prevention (TasP) – When managing HIV, maintain an undetectable viral load to prevent HIV transmission
  • PrEP – HIV treatments to prevent possible infection when engaging in unsafe practices with HIV positive person with a detectable viral load
  • Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) – 4 week course of HIV treatment that may prevent transmission if a possible exposure has occurred – commenced within 72 hours of exposure

Occupational prevention measures for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV

  • Follow standard infection control precautions for first aid
  • When giving resuscitation – use safe practices e.g. using face shield
  • Cover any open sores, cuts or abrasions with waterproof dressing
  • Treat all blood as potential infectious
  • Follow good hygiene practices – e.g. wash hand in between people
  • Use personal protective equipment (PPE) – e.g. glasses, mask, disposal gloves
  • Correctly disposing of sharps and other infectious material
  • Use disposal material to clean up a blood or other bodily fluid spill – e.g. paper towel
  • Seek medical advice for accidental exposure
  • If you experience an accidental exposure and you are not vaccinated for hepatitis B, HBIG may be available, and PEP may be available if you have been exposed to HIV

What to do if you get a needle stick injury

  1. Stay calm!
  2. Wash injury site and surrounding skin with soap and water
    • If you don’t have soap use alcohol based hand sanitisers
    • Use a band aid, if necessary and apply pressure if wound is still bleeding
    • Do not squeeze or rub the injury site
  3. Present to your doctor for testing and potential vaccination, HBIG and/or PEP – only if required
  4. Report incident appropriately according to organisational policy and procedures

Similar Resources
View Resource
View Resource
View Resource

This website may contain the names and images of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have passed on.

CLOSE