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Worried Dad-Please Answer
Jul 28, 2006

My 3 year-old daughter suffered a community needlestick from a discarded 30 gauge insulin pen needle. All indications are that this was a rather low risk exposure as needlesticks go. At 24 days post exposure, her results were as follows: HCV PCR-negative and HIV RNA PCR <400 (essentially undetected. My question is how reassuring these results actually are. There is so much differing information out there on this but most of it seems to say that she should have had detectable levels of both by PCR at 24 days. How reliable are those results at 3 1/2 weeks? Thanks for your time.

Response from Dr. McGovern

Testing is usually recommended up to 3 to 6 months later, depending on risk. Your daughter's needlestick was unfortunate, but I suspect that this is a very very low risk exposure since it was an insulin syringe, which is a very small caliber needle.

I would speak to your pediatrician about follow-up testing. Yes your first results are extremely reassuring.

HCV False Positive
Value of a Spleen

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