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HIV survival outside the body; needles left around
Mar 2, 2001

My question stems from this situation: I used to do home health care and at times performed venipuncture on my patients. I used my puncture resistent box to dispose of my needles. I kept box in care bag which was usually kept on top of my closet shelf due to having small children. It had been at least 6 to 7 months since I had worked (therefore the last venipuncture was also 6 to 7 months prior) and I had taken my bag down from my closet to get a bandade. I mistakenly never returned the bag to the shelf. My 18 month old son was in bag. I am not even sure he went into box but I know he may have had the box, I was not in room. Even if in the worst case of my son being stuck by the needle, wouldnt HIV be no longer alive after 6 to 7 months. My physician didnt give me a clear answer. She did get him a blood test but it will take 8 weeks for the results. I am very worried and of couse upset that I was irresponsible but is it even a concern for HIV. Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. Dezube

It would be incredibly unlikely that your son will get infected by such a scenario that you describe. HIV does not survive this long outside the body. has a link to this very commonly asked question. Here it is

And please dispose of those needles in a safe manner as soon as possible.

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