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how much risk
Jul 9, 2006

I am a student nurse and last night I suffered from a needlestick injury after injecting a known HIV patient with deltaparin. I didnt inform the nursing staff on duty as I felt stupid for re - sheathing the needle when I know not to. because of this I pricked my right finger. I immediately bled it and ran it under cold water for a couple of minutes. Please could you tell me how much at risk I am of contracting the HIV virus and guide me to what I should do next.

Response from Dr. Young

Thanks for your post.

From what you describe, you've had a potential exposure to HIV-- albeit a relatively low-risk exposure. In general, percutaneous injuries have about a 3 in 1000 risk of infection; lower if the needle was not used to cannulate a blood vessel or if the injury was not a deep one (as yours sounds). And yes, recapping any needle is a bad idea for precisely this reason.

I would certainly contact your student supervisor or student health about your exposure. The last thing you'd want to have happen is to seroconvert-- post-exposure prophylaxis can significantly reduce the risk of seroconversion if started within 72 hours of exposure. BY



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