Universal precautions

The only infection control precautions which need to be taken against HIV in any job or any walk of life are the same as the usual proper standards of good infection control in that situation, known as 'universal precautions'.

HIV is known to have similar modes of transmission to hepatitis B but with one crucial difference – HIV is much less infectious than hepatitis B. Consequently, infection control procedures which protect against hepatitis B will also protect against HIV.

Universal precautions are the most effective way to ensure that the risk of HIV infection is minimised. The principle is the same as that of safer sex, where universal precautions such as condoms are far more effective at reducing risk than subjective methods such as 'choosing carefully'.

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 It may have been superseded by more recent developments.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.