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The tube popped
Aug 27, 2002

I plan to get tested in the near future for hiv, because i was exposed to a tube(red top) of blood that was positive for hiv. I work in the E.D. at a county hospital and we sent the blood down to the lab, 15 minutes later the nurse decided she wanted the blood back to do some blood cultures. When I went to retrieve the blood the lab personel took the blood out of the centerfuge and drew some of the blood out for cultures. Well some how or another the "tube" popped open and I got a slash of blood on my hand. I immediatly washed my hands, but my question to you is , how long will the virus stay alive after the blood has been taken from the body. I have figured that it was out for 20 min, and it was in a centerfuge. I am really stressed out about this, and its all I can think about. If your wondering I did not have any cuts on my hand.What I do think about though,is if it splashed in my eyes,nose, or mouth.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Vaccutainer pressurized tubes can occasionally open if too much pressure builds up inside. You sustained an occupational exposure. You should document this with an incident report at your County Hospital. All hospitals have protocols in place for dealing with an occupational exposure to infectious bodily fluids. Since your skin was intact, your risk is very low; however, I would still follow the protocol for getting appropriate testing and follow-up. If your hospital does not have a written policy and procedure for occupational exposures, please notify your supervisor. How long does HIV survive outside the body? Not very long, but the exact time is dependent on multiple factors including viral load, quantity of blood, ambient conditions, such as temperature, etc. You should be given the option of starting anti-HIV medications, i.e. Post Exposure Prophylaxis, if the exposure occurred within the past 24-48 hours. Do I think you need it? No, I don't, but you should have the option of taking it if you wish. Get tested. I'm quite confident you'll be just fine!

Good luck.

Dr. Bob


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