AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, and precautionary behaviors among emergency medical professionals

M. S. Smyser, J. Bryce, Jill G Joseph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, and precautionary behaviors were assessed among a random sample of Michigan-licensed emergency medical service (EMS) professionals between June and August 1988. Of 2,000 mailed questionnaires, 1,020 were returned (51 percent response), and 997 of the returned questionnaires were used in the final analysis. Survey results indicated that most respondents were able to correctly identify the transmission routes of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), but many respondents had misconceptions about nonviable routes, the incidence of HIV infection among health care workers, and some aspects of the natural history of HIV. More than half of the respondents (56.6 percent) believed that their chances of becoming infected with HIV were 'somewhat high' or 'very high,' although the number of documented HIV seroconversions due to occupational HIV exposures in health care settings is low. Although only six respondents (0.6 percent) reported that they had refused treatment to patients known or suspected to be infected with HIV, 25 percent felt that EMS professionals should be allowed to refuse treatment under such circumstances. Potential exposures to HIV were assessed through respondents' reports of three activities in the 6 months prior to the survey. For each activity, use of universal precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control was also assessed. In general, few respondents reported the consistent use of precautions. While the majority of those attempting resuscitations (86.9 percent) reported that they always use a protective device, only 36.7 percent of those treating bleeding patients reported that they always wear gloves, and only 21.9 percent of those using needles reported that they do not recap them after use. EMS professionals must increase their use of universal precautions. The results of this study suggest that educational programs about AIDS and HIV infection may be one way to reach this goal. In addition, further research should be undertaken to identify barriers other than lack of knowledge that may deter or prevent the use of universal precautions by these professionals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)496-504
Number of pages9
JournalPublic Health Reports
Volume105
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes

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Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Emergencies
HIV
Universal Precautions
Emergency Medical Services
Virus Diseases
Surveys and Questionnaires
Protective Devices
Delivery of Health Care
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.)
Natural History
Resuscitation
Needles
Hemorrhage
Incidence
Therapeutics
Research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

AIDS-related knowledge, attitudes, and precautionary behaviors among emergency medical professionals. / Smyser, M. S.; Bryce, J.; Joseph, Jill G.

In: Public Health Reports, Vol. 105, No. 5, 1990, p. 496-504.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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