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HIV risk from standard blood draw
Aug 7, 2003

Hello: I was wondering if there is any real possibility of getting infected with HIV from just a standard blood draw? Although everyone always says that needles are never reused in medical offices, how can I be sure of that? How easily can the virus be passed into the bloodstream from a blood *draw*, as opposed to an injection? How long can HIV live within a needle anyway? I recently had a regular blood draw performed (about a month ago) and now I can't help being plagued with worry about this because of an earlier questionable draw during which the clinicians didn't particularly seem like they knew what they were doing. So I have come to be distrustful of health care workers in general. Anyway, I was tested for HIV about 2-3 months ago (which came out negative), but now because of this recent draw the worry has started all over again, and I'm aware that I can't get re-tested for at least 3 months. I know you guys get tons of questions, but please find the time for at least a brief response to this one because I'm driving myself crazy over this. The waiting period to get tested produces incredible anxiety. THANKS SO MUCH.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"Is there any real possibility of getting infected with HIV from a standard blood draw?" No. "How can you be sure of that?" Now there's a question I will never be able to answer. How can I prove to you that there are no bogeymen hiding under your bed at night, if you firmly believe there are? I see absolutely no reason you should have any additional HIV testing, unless you've been having unsafe sex with the bogeyman under your bed at night and not telling me.

I agree when you say, "I'm driving myself crazy over this," because that's exactly what's happening. HIV is not your problem; Anxiety and irrational fears are. I would strongly advise you to stop searching for and fearing a disease you could not possibly have. Instead, ask your doctor for a referral for some counseling to help you cope with these irrational fears. Don't wait. Get the help you need. Life is way too precious a gift to waste it worrying about nonexistent bogeymen.

Dr. Bob



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