Bloodborne pathogens are infectious microorganisms in human blood that can cause disease in humans. These pathogens include, but are not limited to, hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C (HCV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Most people infected with hepatitis C develop long-term infection. After many years, the infection will likely result in liver damage. Unlike hepatitis C, hepatitis B does not need treatment because it often gets better on its own. Though some people develop a long-term infection, resulting in liver damage. After someone is infected with HIV, the virus stays in the body. It slowly harms or destroys the immune system causing infections to be more harmful than usual.
A person can be infected with HBV, HCV, or HIV if they were stuck with a needle or other sharp object that has touched the blood or bodily fluids of another person who has one of these infections. These infections can also spread if infected blood or bodily fluids touch mucous membranes or an open sore or cut. Mucous membranes are the moist parts of your body, such as your eyes, nose, and mouth. HIV can also spread from one person to another through fluid in your joints or spinal fluid. It can also spread through semen, fluids in the vagina, breast milk, and amniotic fluid (the fluid that surrounds a baby in the womb). .
In 2014, an estimated 36.9 million people were living with HIV (including 2.6 million children). 2.6 million are under the age of 15. More than two-thirds (70%) of all people living with HIV, 25.8 million, live in sub-Saharan Africa-including 88% of the world's HIV-positive children. In Asia and the Pacific the total number of people living with HIV is 5 million, as of 2014. A total of 1.5 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses worldwide in 2013. Worldwide, 2 billion people have been infected with hepatitis B. 400 million people have become chronically infected (which means they are unable to get rid of the virus).