U.S. Needlestick Injuries

“Nurses should not have to risk their lives every time they use a needle when safe alternatives are available.”

Healthcare workers are at risk of being infected with a host of diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C every day they come to work to care for sick patients. These are the very people who are depended on to treat diseases and save lives. With today's safe needle technology, safety needle use should be widespread and nurses should not be exposed to unnecessary risk. However, this is not the case.

  • 384,000 needle stick injuries occur each year to U.S. hospital-based healthcare professionals. This does not include injuries in outpatient clinics, home health care, home-based care and nursing homes. (CDC) Including these, the number is close to 800,000 needlestick injuries. More than 1000 healthcare workers contract serious infections each year.
  • Nearly two-thirds of nurses report being accidentally stuck at some time in their career. (American Nurses Association Survey)
  • Disease spread through needle reuse includes HIV, Hepatitis, gonorrhea, typhus, herpes, malaria, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, syphilis, and tuberculosis.
  • Safety syringes can reduce accidental needlestick injuries among healthcare professionals by 80% and with worker education, this number is increased to 90%. (ANA Needlestick Prevention Guide)

How Needle Punctures Spread Blood-Borne Illnesses

To create a small hole or pierce the skin, with a pointed or sharp object.

At What Point Does a Needle Puncture Spread Infection?

At the moment the small hole is put into the skin, this allows the infection to spread. This is why tattoo shops are constantly scrutinized because people worry they don't disinfect their equipment. When a tattoo is given, thousands of tiny punctures are made into the skin, putting the receiving person at risk of contracting Hepatitis, HIV or a host of other blood-borne diseases.

Any time the skin is pierced with a sharp object, such as a needle or syringe, it places the person at risk of contracting a deadly disease. This is why the use of safety needles is so important in a healthcare setting. Safety needles, or needles that retract, ensure that the patient is only punctured once and the healthcare worker, or anyone else, cannot have their skin punctured by the same needle.

Nurses accidentally stuck with an HIV-infected needle:

A nurse drawing blood from an HIV-positive patient at a drug clinic holds the needle in her right hand. She then reaches across with her left hand by reflex to grab three blood-collection tubes about to roll off the counter and pierces her left index finger. 13 months later, she is diagnosed with hepatitis and HIV…

Prevention Strategies

A registered nurse with 23 years of experience just finished accessing the vein of an emergency room patient and was placing the used intravenous catheter into a sharps container. She suddenly felt a prick in her finger from a needle poking out from the container where the drop down lid was. 9 months later, she found out she was infected with hepatitis C and HIV and the source patient was unknown due the circumstances of her accidental needlestick…

7 Things to Do in Response to a Needlestick Injury

Nurses Find Out More About

Learn how healthcare workers can protect themselves from needlestick injuries.

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Unsafe Injections in the Developing World and Transmission of Bloodborne Pathegens: A Review.
Simonsen L, Kane A, Lloyd J, Zaffran M, Kane M. Bull World Health Organ. 1999;77(10):789-800. World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

Read this entire source


The Global Burden of Disease Attributable to Contaminated Injections Given in Health Care Settings
Anja M Hauri, Gregory L Armstrong and Yvan J F Hutin

Read this entire source