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Nurse that is Scared to Death!

Mar 11, 2006

Hi, just a quick question. I'm currently an RN working on a medicine floor. I recently had a patient that has AIDS and Hep C. When I was giving her an injection, once completed, she bled a bit. I wiped the blood with an alcholoh swab with gloves on. I didn't stick myself with a needle but might have gotten a bit of blood on my gloves before I threw them out. Is there any way that I could become infected with AIDS/Hep C through Latex gloves? I do not have any open cuts but my hands do get very chapped due to excessive hand-washing. Also, once I removed the gloves, I thoroughly washed my hands. Just so anxious and scared that I may be at risk. Am I worrying for nothing?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello RN,

Yep! "Worrying for nothing!"

HIV and hep C cannot permeate intact latex gloves (or condoms). No way. No how. I'd suggest you review the information in the "Updated U.S. Public Health Service Guidelines for Management of Occupational Exposures to HBV, HCV, and HIV and Recommendations for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis." That document defines what is and is not an exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Stay well. Stop worrying.

Dr. Bob

How really safe are condoms?
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