Bloodborne Pathogen Exposure

Call the Needlestick Hotline immediately for guidance. 

During Business Hours: 213-740-9355 (WELL)

After-Hours: (323) 442-7900 (Leave a message and a provider will get back to you within 30 minutes)

USC Student Health provides services, associated with needlestick and bodily fluid exposures, for currently enrolled/matriculated USC students at low or no out-of-pocket, except for the prophylactic medication.

Protocol/Information to Students and Providers

What is an exposure?

  • Percutaneous injury (e.g. needlestick or cut with a sharp object)
  • Eye splash or contact with other mucous membrane or non-intact skin (chapped, abraded, or dermatitis)
  • Potentially infectious bodily fluids:
    • Blood
    • Semen
    • Vaginal secretions
    • Cerebrospinal fluid
    • Pleural/pericardial/synovial/peritoneal fluid
    • Amniotic fluid
    • Feces
    • Any bodily fluid that may contain blood

If exposed what should I do?

  • Wash needle sticks and cuts with soap and water
  • Flush splashes to the nose, mouth, and skin with water
  • Irrigate eyes with clean water or saline
  • Obtain as much demographical data on the source patients as possible
  • Ask your supervisor to consent the source patient to testing for HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C at the time of exposure or when medically able to obtain consent. If possible, obtain a rapid HIV test on the source patient immediately.
    • During business hours, please call 213-740-9355 (WELL) You will either be scheduled a same day visit or a phone consultation with one of the physicians; you may also ask for the nurse on call. The physician on call will evaluate the situation and determine what further evaluation and treatment is indicated.
    • During after hours or weekends ONLY – please call either the needlestick hotline at (323) 442-7900 and leave a voicemail. A provider will call you back within 30 minutes.

Is there treatment to prevent blood borne disease after exposure?

  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) – may be prevented by taking post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) medications for up to 4 weeks (if indicated).
  • Hepatitis B (HBV) – in persons who have not been vaccinated or in non-responders to the vaccines, post exposure prophylaxis with two doses of HBV immune globulin is recommended.
  • Hepatitis C (HCV) – there is no vaccine against hepatitis C and no treatment after an exposure that will prevent infection.

How soon after an exposure should treatment start?

  • Post exposure treatment for Hepatitis B and HIV should be started as soon as possible, preferably within two hours after the exposure.
  • Immediate follow-up with Student Health even if source patient’s rapid HIV is negative.

If the source patient is known to be HIV+: 

  • Determine the most recent viral load
  • Obtain the antiretroviral treatment history, including any drug resistance