Plasma polymerized polyacrylic acid (PPAA) was deposited on a polymer substrate, namely polyethylene terephthalate (PET) mesh, for entrapment of silver nanoparticle (Ag-NP) in order to achieve antibacterial property to the material. Carboxylic groups of PPAA act as anchor as well as capping and stabilizing agents for Ag-NPs synthesized by chemical reduction method using NaBH4 as a reducing agent. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), and water contact angle analysis were used to characterize the PPAA coatings. The Ag-NPs loaded polymer samples were characterized by UV–visible spectroscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy, energy dispersive X-ray, and XPS techniques. XPS analysis showed ∼1.0 at.% loading of Ag-NPs on to the PPAA-PET-mesh, which was composed of 79% zero-valent (Ag°) and 21% oxidized nano-Ag (Ag+). The plasma processed PET meshes samples were tested for antibacterial activity against two bacterial strains, namely Staphylococcus aureus (Gram positive) and Escherichia coli (Gram negative). Qualitative and quantitative tests showed that silver containing PPAA-PET meshes exhibit excellent antibacterial property against the tested bacteria with percent reduction of bacterial concentration >99%, compared to the untreated PET mesh. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A, 2013.