Precautions to take when doing CPR on HIV positive person


Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is an emergency procedure that entails chest compression and artificial ventilation to maintain oxygenation and blood circulation.

Additionally, CPR manually facilitates intact brain activities before undertaking professional measures that normalize a person’s blood flow and breathing.

Doing Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

When undertaking Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to any person, it is strongly advisable that health professionals maintain some safety measures to prevent or avoid any form of infection, not necessarily HIV infections.

The reason for maintaining due diligence measures is because we cannot tell the underlying medical conditions of the Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) patient being cared for to gain normalcy. For instance, health facilitators serving a CPR patient who is HIV positive may not know who is positive until an HIV test is done.

Therefore, it is strongly recommended that health facilitators practice safe measures when undertaking CPR on a patient, whether HIV positive or HIV negative.

In unfortunate situations where the health facilitator is doing CPR on an HIV-positive person, the health facilitator might get exposed to HIV if they do not practice safety measures.

So, how can a heath facilitator get exposed to sexually transmitted disease when conducting CPR? In severe cases when handling accident victims, for example, the one rescued from drowning who is not breathing or is only gasping, what does the health facilitator do? 

A trained CPR facilitator will do chest compression and open the airway by covering their mouths, what is called mouth to mouth, to create an airtight seal. But it is prudent that the trained health facilitator first assess whether the patient needs Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and verify that experiencing a cardiac arrest and not a heart attack.

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Precautions to take when doing CPR on HIV positive person

The transmission of HIV is from an infected person by body fluids such as blood, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, semen, and breast milk. However, blood is the primary source of infection and a major transmission route for health facilitators and rescuers during emergencies.

Suppose there is the possibility that the health facilitators or medics can get into contact with the blood of the CPR patient. In that case, they should avoid at whatever circumstance not getting into contact with the blood.

The CPR health facilitators or health professionals need to practice universal first aid and CPR precautions which include:

  • Wearing hand gloves.
  • Washing hands before and after carrying out first aid.
  • Avoiding contact with other fluids such as breast milk.
  • Using Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) whenever necessary.
  • Handling sharp objects with care.
  • Covering wounds with a clean and dry dressing.
  • Avoiding direct contact with open wounds.
  • Decontaminating surfaces that do not need sterilization between patients with a hospital-standard disinfectant solution.

The CPR facilitator also needs to take the following precautions when undertaking mouth-to-mouth breathing:

A CPR facilitator can comfortably carry out the mouth-to-mouth resuscitation without discrimination due to fear of contracting HIV. There are such minimal cases of HIV transmission through mouth-to-mouth ventilation; however, precautions have to be considered to avoid contracting the virus at all costs.

These are some of the precautions a trained CPR facilitator or health professional has to consider when carrying out CPR:

  • Avoiding withholding ventilation through fear of contracting the HIV virus.
  • Avoiding direct contact with the blood if you have open-mouth sores.
  • Initiating hands-only CPR for teens and adults who suddenly collapse until an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available for use; in case you have open-mouth sores.
  • Learning to use a protective device which includes a face shield and pocket mask

A CPR facilitator handling a patient who is bleeding needs to take into consideration the following preventive measures:

  • Wearing hand gloves, particularly for cases that border mass casualties or fighting.
  • Using a clean and thick cloth to help you avoid direct contact with the blood if the bleeding persists.
  • Applying proximal pressure to the main artery if possible in case bleeding persists.
  • Instructing the CPR patient to apply direct pressure to the wound whenever possible.


Doing CPR on HIV positive person needs professionalized preparations and standard precautions as essential means of preventing any possible transmission of HIV. There is no need for discrimination or fear of carrying out CPR on HIV positive person for fear of contracting HIV infections as long as you can strictly follow the universal precautions.

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