Investigations – healthcare workers

The injured HCW should have blood sent for a sample to be stored for further testing if it becomes necessary.

Blood should be taken from the source patient, if known, for:

  • Hepatitis B surface antigen.
  • Hepatitis C antibody.
  • HIV antibody.

The  Department of Health recommends that all hospitals have the capacity to obtain an HIV test result ideally within 8 hours, and no more than 24 hours after blood is taken, to limit the exposure to anti-retroviral medication in the injured HCW (7).

Sending the above tests from the source patient of course relies on obtaining appropriate consent.


Department of Health. HIV post-exposure prophylaxis: guidance from the UK Chief Medical Officers’ Expert Advisory Group on AIDS. 2008. [accessed May 2020].

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