International Journal of Medicine and Public Health,2011,1,2,51-56.
Background: Health care workers (HCWs) are regularly exposed to blood, and other body fluids which make them prone to a risk of acquiring the infection. Despite following ‘universal precautions’, accidental exposure may occur while performing invasive procedures and handling high risk fluids. Objectives: (a) To assess the awareness of post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) in case of needle-stick injury from confirmed or suspected source of HIV amongst I-year postgraduate residents of Kasturba Medical College & Manipal College of Dental Sciences, Mangalore, India. (b) To educate them about the post-exposure prophylaxis guidelines against occupational exposure to HIV. Methodology: This is a cross sectional study among 85 postgraduate residents based on response to structured questionnaire. Results were analyzed and tabulated using National AIDS Control Organization Guidelines as reference standard for comparison. Results: N ineteen respondents (22%) were aware of the true risk of transmission. About half of the respondents identified all the high risk fluids correctly. Twenty-five respondents (29%) knew whom to contact immediately after accidental exposure while only 20respondents (23%) knew that washing with soap and water was the initial measure. Though half of the respondents knew that prophylaxis should be initiated within 1hour of injury, a mere 30% knew the correct duration of PEP. 42% respondents were aware of the availability of drugs and only 28% knew the approximate cost of therapy. Conclusion: T here is a considerable lack of awareness among the medical and dental postgraduate residents about the PEP against accidental exposure to HIV suggesting a need for training and awareness programmes to improve the awareness.