26.1  Universal precautions

The term universal precautions (UP) refers to the standards of infection control developed to prevent exposure and transmission of blood-borne infectious agents like HIV and hepatitis virus. In some texts you will find them referred to as ‘standard procedures’, because they should be routine in all contacts with patients. The universal precautions that are described here should be implemented and practised at all times by all healthcare providers and caregivers in all settings, in particular in hospitals, health centres, health posts and community settings, as well as in the homes of your patients.

Standard procedures is the term used in Part 2 of this Module in the prevention of occupational exposure to tuberculosis.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 26

26.1.1  Why are universal precautions needed?