Healthcare-associated infections (HAIs) are a potential hazard to healthcare personnel (HCP) and their patients. The most important strategy for reducing the risk of HAIs is exposure prevention. For this reason federal, state, and local agencies and professional organizations repeatedly emphasize the importance of Standard and Transmission-based Precautions as the foundation for preventing the transmission of pathogenic organisms during patient care in all healthcare settings.
Much of the vigilance concerning HAIs was initiated in response to concerns related to the transmission the hepatitis B virus and the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). From 2017 through 2021 the annual infection rate for HIV in the United States dropped 12%, from 36,500 to 32,100. In 2021, an estimated 1.2 million people were living with HIV and 13% were unaware of their infection.1