Objective: To estimate the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection among health care workers who donate blood.
Design: Point prevalence survey of blood donors.
Setting: 20 U.S. blood centers that participate in an ongoing interview study of HIV-seropositive blood donors.
Measurements: Prevalence rates for HIV in persons who reported being health care workers were measured directly for 6 of the 20 blood centers. For the other 14 centers, we derived the numerator from the interview study in the same manner used for the 6 centers; we estimated the denominator using blood collection logs at those centers and extrapolations from the survey completed at the 6 blood centers.
Results: Between March 1990 and August 1991, 8519 health care workers donated blood at 6 hospitals and other medical facilities. Three persons were HIV seropositive: Two reported being health care workers and having nonoccupational risk factors for HIV infection; the occupation and other possible risk factors of the third seropositive donor could not be determined. Therefore, the highest overall prevalence of HIV infection among health care worker donors at these 6 centers was 0.04% (3 of 8519; upper limit of 95% CI, 0.1%). We estimated that during the same period, approximately 36 329 health care workers were tested for HIV at all 20 centers. Twenty-seven persons infected with HIV who donated at hospitals were identified; 7 did not return for interviews, so their health care occupations could not be verified. Thus, the highest estimated overall prevalence of HIV infection among health care worker donors at the 20 centers was 0.07% (27 of 36 329; upper limit of CI, 0.1%). Of the 20 known health care worker donors, 11 reported nonoccupational risks for HIV infection; 3 of the remaining 9 health care workers described occupational blood exposures that could have resulted in transmission of HIV.
Conclusions: Blood donors can serve as a sentinel cohort when evaluating the risk for occupationally acquired HIV infection. These findings suggest that among the many health care worker donors in this study, HIV infection attributable to occupational exposure was uncommon.