Body fluids considered by the Department of Health to pose a transmission risk

Healthcare workers may come into contact with certain body fluids which few other people will be exposed to. The Department of Health's 2008 guidelines on post-exposure prophylaxis for healthcare workers1 provides a list of body fluids and materials that may pose a risk of HIV transmission if significant exposure occurs. The complete list is as follows:

  • Amniotic fluid (that surrounds a foetus).
  • Blood.
  • Cerebrospinal fluid (which surrounds the brain and fills the cavity of the spinal cord).
  • Exudative or other tissue fluid from burns or skin lesions.
  • Human breast milk.
  • Pericardial fluid (which surrounds the heart).
  • Peritoneal fluid (which surrounds the organs in the abdomen).
  • Pleural fluid (which surrounds the lungs).
  • Saliva during dental procedures, because it may be contaminated with blood.
  • Semen.
  • Synovial fluid (which lubricates joints).
  • Unfixed human tissues and organs.
  • Vaginal secretions.
  • Any other body fluid if visibly bloodstained.
Related Links

References

  1. Department of Health HIV post-exposure prophylaxis: Guidance from the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Expert Advisory Group on AIDS. London, 2008
This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.
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This content was checked for accuracy at the time it was written. It may have been superseded by more recent developments. NAM recommends checking whether this is the most current information when making decisions that may affect your health.

NAM’s information is intended to support, rather than replace, consultation with a healthcare professional. Talk to your doctor or another member of your healthcare team for advice tailored to your situation.