Information for School Employees
The term HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection. The term AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Basically, HIV attacks the body's immune system by decreasing its resistance to life-threatening infections and malignancies.
Hepatitis B is an infection of the liver caused by a virus present in the blood and other body fluids of infected persons.
What Symptoms Do They Cause?
People infected with HIV usually look and feel healthy and may not know for many years they are infected. When symptoms do appear, they can be like those of many common illnesses such as:
- Swollen Glands
Because these symptoms vary from person to person, only a doctor and a blood test can determine if someone is infected with HIV. Currently, there is no known cure. Only prevention can stop the spread of infection.
The symptoms of Hepatitis B include:
- Mild fever
- Muscle aches
- Joint aches
- Appetite loss
- Abdominal Pain
- Dark Urine
- Yellow Skin (Jaundice)
A highly effective vaccine is available to prevent Hepatitis B. There is no cure once a person has been infected.
How Are They Spread?
HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B
The common ways both the HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B virus can be transmitted are:
- Unprotected sex with someone who is infected.
- Sharing of drug needles or syringes with an infected person.
- Being born to an infected mother.
- Using infected, unsterile instruments for such things as tattooing, ear piercing, and shaving.
- Direct contact of infected blood with mucous membranes like the eye and mouth; direct contact of infected blood and broken skin (i.e., cuts); and accidental needle sticks with needles containing blood from virus carriers.
- Possibly through infected transfusions to treat diseases like hemophilia.
It should be noted that the possibility of becoming infected through blood transfusions in the United States is extremely low, as all donated blood is tested.
The HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis B virus CANNOT be transmitted or spread:
- By a cough or sneeze.
- Through the air or water.
- On surfaces such as phones, doorknobs, office equipment, tools, or toilet seats.
- By using drinking fountains, toilets, or sinks.
- By kissing or biting.
How Can They Be Prevented?
These diseases can be prevented. Some prevention methods include:
- Refrain from engaging in unprotected sexual activity.
- Do not share intravenous equipment such as drug needles or syringes.
- Do not share toothbrushes or shaving razors.
- Practice universal precautions.
What Are Universal Precautions?
Universal precautions are measures used to prevent the spread of all infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS and HEPATITIS B.
In the school setting the universal precautions include:
- Hand washing.
- The use of latex gloves.
- The use of disinfectants.
- Trash disposal.
- The modification of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
The facilities required for handwashing should include:
- Sink with running water.
- Liquid soap dispenser.
- Disposable paper towels or automatic warm air hand drier.
- Waste receptacles with disposable plastic liners.
Hands should always be washed:
- Before eating.
- Before drinking or smoking.
- Before handling cooking utensils or implements.
- Before and after preparing food or assisting with feeding.
- Before and after assisting with toileting or diapering.
- After contact with body fluids such as respiratory secretions, blood (including menstrual flow), urine, feces, mucous, or drainage from wounds.
- After close personal contact with students especially those with nose, mouth, eye, or ear drainage.
- After removing disposable gloves.
- After using the toilet.
Disposable Latex Gloves
- Gloves should be immediately available in the work area.
- Gloves should be used only once, removed inside out.
- Gloves should be used when handling blood or body fluids.
- Gloves should always be discarded into a waste receptacle with a plastic liner.
The use of disinfectants such as household chlorine bleach is effective against most disease-causing organisms including HIV/AIDS and HEPATITIS B.
- The chlorine bleach should be in a 1:10 solution which is equivalent to 1.6 cups of bleach in 1 gallon of water, this solution should be mixed daily.
- Other disinfectants approved by EPA can also be used.
Correct Trash Disposal
• Containers to dispose of bloody waste should be lined with plastic and discarded in the regular trash.
• Liquid or semi-liquid blood or other body fluids must be placed in specially marked leaking-proof containers.
• Puncture-proof containers are required and should be used for needles, syringes, or lancets.
• Do not break or recap needles. Place the intact syringes with needles into the correct containers, then contact local health departments for the disposal of contaminated material.
Modification of CPR
• CPR should always be started as soon as possible; any delay could jeopardize a successful resuscitation.
• The use of masks or shields to prevent the backflow of fluids from the mouth of a victim to that of a resuscitator is advised. These masks and shields or other devices should be accessible to any person likely to be required to administer CPR
in the school setting.
What Laws or Policies Are Related To These Diseases?
There are several local, state, and federal laws that regulate the control of these diseases. Some of the related laws include:
• Sharing information about HIV/AIDS infected persons without consent is prohibited by law, and that person is subject to a civil penalty and a fine not to exceed $5,000.
• The policies for students with HIV/AIDS state that students must not be excluded or placed specially or solely because of their HIV status.
• The current law does not require parents or physicians to inform school officials of the student's HIV/AIDS status. If disclosure by a student or parent is made, it must be kept confidential unless written permission is given.
• In the legalities of testing, it is a misdemeanor to disclose blood test results of HIV/AIDS positives except by written authorization (CH&S Code Chapter 1.11 & 1.12 Sections 119.21, 199.30, 1991.31, and 199.37).
• Cal OSHA has established standards of compliance for employers to prevent the spread of blood-borne pathogens. (Title 8 Section 5193).
If you would like more information on HIV/AIDS or Hepatitis B contact your local chapter of the American Red Cross, local Health Department, or the National Aids Information Hotline (Toll-Free) 1-800-342-AIDS.