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Mucous membrane exposure of HCW
Mar 11, 2003

Hi Dr. Frascino - Just wanted to write and tell you what an asset you are to the HIV community. Thank you for your guidance and sharing your knowledge. I am an RN that was recently exposed to unknown source blood by a bloody water splash to the face (In the ER where I just began working, someone discarded blood into a sink! I turned on the faucet and got a nasty surprise. Can you believe?!?)Do you know where I can research the CDC case reports of HIV seroconversion from mucous membrane exposure? Do you happen to know why the CDC MMWR does not recommend HIV RNA or viral load testing of exposed HCWs? Thanks again for all you do. You stay well, yourself!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Healthcare Worker,

First off, I hope you filed an incident report with your supervisor at the ER. The CDC's most recent update on Management of Occupational Exposures can be found at www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5011a1.htm. It's dated 6/29/2001.

Your risk of seroconversion from this type of exposure is extremely low, but if there was a significant exposure, your employer should pay for HIV tests immediately, and again at 3 and 6 months. I understand the CDC's position on PCR (RNA or DNA) viral loads, but suggest you contact them directly to hear their specific rationale for their recommendations - after all it is their recommendation.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob



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