In order to prevent transmission of pathogens after potential exposure and also to refer for comprehensive management to minimize the risk of infection after potential exposure to HIV, post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is needed . PEP includes first aid, counseling, risk assessment, relevant laboratory investigations based on the informed consent of the exposed person and source and following the risk assessment, provision of short term of antiretroviral drugs for 28 days, along with follow-up evaluation .
Health care workers (HCWs) are persons working in health care setting and they are potentially exposed to infectious materials such as blood, tissue, specific body fluids, medical supplies, equipment or environmental surfaces contaminated with these substances . They are frequently exposed to occupational hazards through per-cutaneous injury such as needle stick or cut with sharps, contact with the mucus membrane of eyes or mouth of an infected person, contact with non intact skin exposed with blood or other potentially infectious body fluids .
When we focus on HCWs that are found in developing countries, they are at serious risk of infection from blood borne pathogens like HIV, Hepatitis B and C viruses because of the high prevalence and increased occupational risk of these pathogens in the areas [4, 5]. Unsafe practices like careless handling of contaminated needles, unnecessary injections on demand, reuse of inadequately sterilized needles, and improper disposal of hazardous waste (major problem in developing countries) can increase the potential risk of occupational transmission of these blood borne pathogens .
Different evidences showed that there is an information gap in the health care setups regarding PEP. For instance a study conducted in London indicated that only 22% of doctors identified all the three drugs that are recommended at that time . A study conducted in Ethiopia, Jimma town, showed that 83.9% of total HCWs had inadequate knowledge about PEP for HIV and among the exposed respondents, 81.6% did not use PEP of whom 33.8% didn’t use PEP because of lack of information .
In Gondar, there is no study conducted about PEP for HIV on HCWs. Thus, this study was undertaken to assess knowledge, attitude, and practice about HIV post exposure prophylaxis among health care workers of Gondar University Hospital, Gondar, and Northwest Ethiopia.