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AZT?
Apr 25, 2000

My mother is a health care worker in a local hospital. She recently got stuck with a scissor used on an HIV positive patient. There was bleeding. (through the gloves) She washed the cut out with bleach, and was sent to a doctor. The doctor told her that because the scissor was in air for 10-15 minutes prior to the incident, and because it was sitting in water that the chances of contraction was small. He did however give her prescriptions to stop the production of the HIV virus. (AZT was one of them) He said that there are very high risks with these meds. Can you please explain them and how the virus is stopped.

- She decided against taking them due to the risks

Thank you

Response from Dr. Feinberg

I'm sorry the doctor your mother saw was so negative about taking the drugs. There is a study of cases combined from the US, the UK and France that showed that there was less transmission than you'd expect when people took AZT. Yes, there are possible side effects (not "very high risks"), but you only need to take the drugs for 4-6 weeks, and all the side effects would have gone away. The drugs work by slowing don the growth of the virus.

At any rate, it's too late for her to take them now, so I hope she is fortunate and does not get HIV from this experience.


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