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Ocupational Exposure
Apr 27, 2006

I am an acupuncture student in the US. When removing a needle from a patient (inserted by another student) several drops of blood soaked through the cotton ball and onto my thumb (very aptypical for such bleeding to occur), which had a hangnail. After thoroughly rinsing with soap and water, I submerged in alcohol and noticed a sting. The patient was an older homosexual male that claimed to be in a monogamous relationship and tested previously. I have been discouraged from prophalaxis, but still have a few hours to decide. How would you describe my risk? Thanks so much for your wonderful service.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Acupuncture Stud.,

Your HIV risk is essentially nonexistent. I agree PEP would not be warranted. If you are worried, get an HIV test in three months to calm any residual worries. Personally, I don't feel it's essential to do so, other than to set your mind at ease.

Also, advise the "other student" not to stick needles in veins, arteries or in people with bleeding disorders.

Dr. Bob



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