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Patient injects own blood into healthcare worker

Dec 20, 2003

A friend of mine works at a hospital and was doing a routine blood gas on a patient when the patient then took the needle from my friend and injected all of the blood into him. The patient was HIV+. My friend has taken every precaution possible, medications, etc. What are his chances of NOT becoming infected? It wasn't a simple needle stick...but rather a total injection. I'm worried for him but something tells me to not be surprised if he ends up positive. Is there any chance that he may not get it?

Response from Dr. Frascino


That story sounds like a nightmare and is perhaps a bit improbable. But if your friend was injected with fresh HIV-positive arterial blood, then he indeed has had a very significant exposure. Immediately taking PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) may indeed decrease his risk of seroconversion. The risk of seroconversion from all needle stick exposures (contaminated with HIV-infected blood) is estimated to be 1 in 300. Your friend's odds may be significantly higher. Is there a chance he won't seroconvert to HIV-positive? Yes, there is. However, he certainly should be monitored closely and follow the CDC guidelines for significant occupational exposure.

We'll all wish him luck and keep all fingers and toes crossed for him.

Dr. Bob

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