Can I ask about your exposure?
Apr 28, 2003
Dear Dr. Bob, I read from the posted information about you on this site and I am greatly impressed and moved by your willpower and optimism. I am sorry to ask about this question but I really like to know about the risk. I heard that needle stick carries about 4 in 1000 possibility. 1. Did you get immediate injection with fresh blood in the needle?
2. If the infectious blood is not yet dried in the hollow needle, for example, exposed to air for 2-3 minutes, and some one get stuck with it. Is this a significant risk?
3.Do you think squeezing out the blood and wash the wound immediately helps?
My cousin's leg got scratched by a hollow needle with blood on it that projected out of the garbage can in a clinic--the would bleeded in about 15 seconds and the clinic is for infectious disease. The needle might be exposed to air for 10 minutes but still wet. Suppose that the needle is hiv contaminated,(extremely likely)Is he at risk for hiv and should he get tested?
Thank you for your time. This forum really helps, both the worried-well and those who are struggling with the disease. Hope you guys would get more support! Best wishes.
Response from Dr. Frascino
Ive addressed my occupational exposure several times in this forum recently, so I wont reiterate all that information again at this time. Rather, Ill direct my response specifically to the question regarding your cousin. That he sustained this needle stick injury from a bloody hollow-bore needle projecting from a garbage can in an infectious diseases clinic is surprising, because most clinics use protective puncture-proof needle disposal units for used needles. It is true that HIV does not survive very long outside the body; however, since you really have no way of determining how long that needle was in the garbage and that it was "still wet" would indicate there is some risk for acquiring a blood-borne illness. Yes, your cousin should report the incident to the medical clinic where the accident occurred. They will test him at the appropriate intervals for HIV and hepatitis. Good luck.
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