Both Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS pose more risk in occupational health and safety. They are contagious disease which have impacted differently on the welfare of the workforce and hence influence occupational hazard and safety. Both are viral disease which means they are highly contagious and difficult to cure. The viruses that cause these diseases are major concerns for most workers as they have already shown their impact on the workforce (Goetsch, 2004). They can lead to decreased productivity of the workforce especially when most workers have contacted both diseases. This become more serious in healthcare industry where workers are exposed to body fluids like blood and other with risk of needle sticks which can become major transmitters of these infections. Although AIDS has been feared more than Hepatitis B, research evidence shows that Hepatitis B poses more risk than HIV/AIDS. This is due to the fact that Hepatitis B is 1000 times contagious compared to HIV/AIDS.
Like HIV virus, Hepatitis B is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluid in workplace. However, it is known to spread much faster and frequently when compared to HIV/AIDS through sexual intercourse or through injection, especially among drug users (Hepatitis B Info, 2010). Like HIV, Hepatitis B is also passed from the mother to the unborn child. In this case, the risk is also higher because about 90 percent of children born of a Hepatitis B mother will progress to develop chronic Hepatitis B. In addition, Hepatitis B can also be caused by other conditions like sharing of brushes or nail clippers which may be common in the work place.
The two however differs in terms of their progression. HIV/AIDS is known to progress slowly from infection to the time the CD4 count falls down to allow for opportunistic infection. This may take years depending on lifestyle of the infected person. However, Hepatitis B progress much fast and is known to cause serious liver damage and death in some cases (Goetsch, 2004). Life threatening risk of Hepatitis B comes from inflammation of the liver. This may be more serious because at the beginning, Hepatitis B does not show any manifestation symptoms. Initial symptoms may be similar to those of other disease since they include fever, headaches, loss of appetite, fatigue, and others. With time, other symptoms like gastrointestinal disorders like nausea becomes apparent. This is followed by infection of liver which is manifested as Jaundice or yellowing of the skin and eyes due to accumulation of billirubin.
Research shows that Hepatitis B is 100 to 1000 times more contagious than HIV/AIDS. HBV virus is much smaller than HIV which means there are likely to be more particles of the virus in a given amount of blood. In addition, HBV has been shown to survive for more than seven days in dried blood even when exposed to surfaces. Comparatively, HIV virus is immediately deactivated one it is out of body fluid which means once the body fluid in which the virus survive is dried up, the virus also dies. Since HBV virus can survive for a longer time outside the body fluid environment, it means that it will infect more people compared to HIV virus which is inactivated once exposed to the surface.
Owing to its high concentration in blood, Hepatitis B becomes more contagious. This means that a person who is exposed to Hepatitis B virus has a higher risk of infection 30 percent more risk of getting sick compared to a person who has been exposed to HIV virus. This means that there are many practices in the workplace which can lead to infection with Hepatitis B and this risk is higher compared to HIV/AIDS