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fear of exposure to hiv
Feb 20, 2011

i am anurse, 7 month pregnant. while working on a patient i accidentally injured my finger with a nedle used on him. the patient is hiv negative, but my Dr recommended that i take hiv prophlaxis for 0ne month. will this have and effect on my unborn child ? i am worried about this.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

The risks and benefits of post-exposure prophylaxis depend on several conditions-- in part, who was the source, what was the type of instrument (hollow bore, solid bore needle, scalpel, etc), what was the extent and depth of the injury. There are specific US-based guidelines for post-exposure prophylaxis that could be of some benefit.

Certainly, knowledge that the source patient was "hiv negative" as you state, reduces the risk, so the only way that you could have been exposed to HIV is if the source was experiencing acute HIV infection (ie., infected, but still within the 3 month period where antibody tests are not always positive).

As for HIV medications and risk to fetus and infant- studies generally show that the medications are safe to use, though if given the option we'll tend to defer initiating them in HIV+ women until after the first trimester. Since you're in your 7th month, the risk should be very low.

Part of the consideration is that HIV transmission from mother to child can be very effectively prevented with antiretroviral medications. Since your in your 7th month, I suspect that your health care provider is trying to weigh this factor with the relative risks of HIV exposure and medication toxicity.

I hope this helps and wish you and your family well, BY

best help
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