NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search

Occupational exposure to Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)-infected blood in Denver, Colorado, police officers.

Hoffman RE; Henderson N; O'Keefe K; Wood RC
Am J Epidemiol 1994 May; 139(9):910-917
A study of officers working for the Denver, Colorado police department was undertaken to document how exposures to blood and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) occur and to measure the risk of exposure by type of work assignment. All officers employed by the Denver policy department from December of 1989 through March of 1991 were included in the study population. Exposure was defined as having contact with blood or a body fluid with visible blood on an open or fresh wound, skin lesion, or mucous membrane, or sustaining a needlestick or puncture wound with an object that had blood on or in it. The study indicated that these officers had exposure to blood in every type of enforcement assignment, but that the actual rate of such an exposure was quite small. The rates of exposure were based on self reports, and may have been falsely low. A total of 42 exposures to blood were documented; 24 involved blood contact with nonintact skin, six involved blood contact with mucous membranes, six resulted from bites, four involved needlesticks, and two were from lacerations by objects with blood on the surface of the object. Two thirds of the 42 exposures reported occurred under circumstances in which there was little or no time for the officer to put on protective gloves and clothing as the officer was restraining or being assaulted by a suspect, or gloves would not have been protective as a penetration by a needle occurred. Eleven officers were exposed to blood from HIV infected source persons or from persons whose HIV status was unknown. None of the 11 officers experienced HIV seroconversion over the following 6 months. The results showed that Denver police officers were exposed to blood in every type of enforcement assignment, but the actual rate of such an exposure was quite small. The rate of exposure per 10,000 person days varied from 0.09 for investigation assignments to 1.52 for urban street crime assignments.
NIOSH-Publication; NIOSH-Cooperative-Agreement; Blood-analysis; Policemen; Infectious-diseases; Disease-transmission; Viral-infections; AIDS-virus; Accident-prevention; Accident-analysis; Occupational-exposure; Acquired-immune-deficiency-syndrome; Law-enforcement-workers; Author Keywords: blood; HIV; occupational exposure; police
Dr. Richard E. Hoffman, Colorado Department of Health, Division of Disease Control and Environmental Epidemiology, 4300 Cherry Creek Drive South, Denver, CO 80222-1530
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Source Name
American Journal of Epidemiology
Page last reviewed: October 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division