Clinical picture

HIV is an infectious disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus.

An HIV infection can manifest itself in many ways. In the initial phase, there are often non-specific flu-like symptoms. Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the term used to refer to certain (serious) medical complaints characterised by infections, neurological clinical pictures and malignant neoplasms which can eventually be fatal.

Additional information from the RIVM.

Infection route

HIV infection occurs through blood contact (blood-contaminated bodily fluids on non-intact skin) and needle stick, bite, cut or splash incidents.

Contagious period

Lifelong. HIV is less infectious if someone is effectively treated with antiretroviral medication.

Incubation time

In principle, 2-4 weeks until a flu-like clinical picture emerges, after which a clinical HIV infection can develop if the patient is not treated.

Potential infectees

Staff who may become occupationally infected by HIV-contaminated material (bodily fluids, needle stick, bite, cut or splash incidents).


Training: Staff should be properly informed about HIV infections and the prevention of infection through needle stick, cut or splash incidents.

General measures: Follow the internal hygiene instructions.

Preference is given to safe puncture systems in which the used needle is (automatically) protected. Needle cups where the needle is easily and safely separated from the syringe by a slot in the lid or discarded. Never recap (never put the needle back in the sleeve).

Use disposable gloves and, in conditions where drops or mist spread through the air, consider a face shield and barrier aprons.

Vaccination: not possible.

Post-exposure policy

Every UMC has a needle stick incident protocol which provides that an employee can consult an expert 24 hours a day for a risk assessment of the incident and the necessary follow-up steps. It is important to report to the expert as soon as possible after an incident, preferably within two hours, with a maximum of 72 hours after the needle-needle stick incident. The RIVM has a national needle stick incident guideline.

Potential infectors

No national policy.