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Additional Information


Bloodborne pathogens (BBPs) are viruses or bacteria that are carried in human blood and can cause disease. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV) and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Needlesticks and other sharps-related injuries may expose people to bloodborne pathogens.


Hepatitis B (HBV)

"Hepatitis" means "inflammation of the liver.” While there are several different types of Hepatitis, Hepatitis B is transmitted primarily through blood contact. HBV initially causes inflammation of the liver, but it can lead to more serious conditions such as cirrhosis and liver cancer. people who are infected with HBV will often show no symptoms for up to nine months. 15%–25% of chronically infected people develop chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver failure, or liver cancer

There are an Estimated 850,000 - 2.2 million people living with chronic Hepatitis B in the U.S. and there are approximately 19,200 new infections annually. About 2 in 3 people with Hepatitis B do not know they are infected. Hepatitis B is primarily spread when blood, semen, or certain other body fluids from a person infected with the Hepatitis B virus enters the body of someone who is not infected. The Hepatitis B virus is very durable, and it can survive in dried blood for over seven days.

Hepatitis C (HCV)

Hepatitis C is a disease of the liver caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Approximately 30,500 new HCV infections occur each year. It is estimated that 4 million (1.6%) Americans have been infected with HCV, of whom over 3 million are chronically infected, though 80% do not have signs or symptoms. About 50% of people with Hepatitis C do not know they are infected. Though HCV symptoms are often initially mild, chronic HCV infection develops in 75%-85% of persons infected, with chronic liver disease developing in 70% of cases. The course of chronic liver disease caused by HCV usually progresses at a slow rate without producing any symptoms or physical signs in the majority of people during the first two or more decades of infection. Infected persons serve as a source of transmission to others and are at risk for chronic liver disease or other HCV related chronic diseases. HCV is the most common chronic bloodborne infection.


Hepatitis C is spread when blood from a person infected with the Hepatitis C virus enters the body of someone who is not infected, for example by sharing needles and syringes.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS if not treated. Unlike some other viruses, the human body can not get rid of HIV completely, even with treatment.

HIV attacks the body’s immune system, making the person more likely to get other infections or infection-related cancers. Over time, during the last stage of HIV infection called AIDS, the body can no longer fight off infections and disease. Over 1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in the United States today, with about 40,000 people infected in 2016. Approximately 16,000 deaths are related to HIV/AIDS annually in the United States.

The risk for getting or transmitting HIV is very high if an HIV-negative person uses injection equipment that someone living with HIV has used. HIV can survive in a used needle for up to 42 days, depending on temperature and other factors. About 9% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States are related to injection drug use.

More on HIV/AIDS, HCV, and STD's