February 1998 Bulletin

HHS launches hotline for needle-sticks

The Department of Health and Human Services has a national toll-free hotline to help clinicians counsel and treat health care workers with job-related exposure to blood-borne diseases and infections, including hepatitis and HIV infection. By calling (888) 448-4911 from anywhere in the United States 24 hours a day, clinicians can gain access to the National Clinicians’ Post-Exposure Prophylaxis Hotline (PEPline). Trained physicians provide clinicians information, counseling and treatment recommendations for workers who have needle-stick injuries and other serious occupational exposures to blood-borne microorganisms that lead to such serious infections or diseases as HIV or hepatitis.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates at least 5,000 HIV needle exposures occur annually. Hepatitis and HIV infection pose the greatest risk to health care workers with needle-stick injuries.

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