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Disposable needles

Aug 13, 1998

Hi. I was wondering if it is required in the USA for all HIV testing facilities to use single use disposable needles? Is there any risk of a needle being reused? I never noticed the whole process and got a bit scared. Thanks for your help!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Because of the risk of blood borne transmission of many different diseases (HIV, hepatitis B and C viruses among others), current practice is to use single use, disposable needles only once. In fact one of the major risk factors for transmission of these viruses is needle sharing during intravenous drug use. These needles and syringes are disposed of in red, hard plastic containers and incinerated or buried in land fills. The cost of cleaning and sterilizing needles for reuse is way more expensive than making new ones. From a public health standpoint, it is better to fill land fills with disposables, than reuse needles. MH

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