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RN with a question

Jun 3, 2007

Hi Dr Bob- I work as a nurse and was taking care of a HIV+ pt. I was not wearing gloves while performing a routine physical assesment on him. During my assesment I noticied that he had a lesion on his skin. I may or may not have touched this was bare hands. I did not see anything on my hands however his bed sheets had what looked like spots of serosang. drainage on them. Immediately following the incident i washed my hands. I do not have any open cuts on my hands however, my cuticles are dry and cracked from the constant handwashing. In your opinion does this exposure place me at risk for transmission or am I letting anxiety take over?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your occupational HIV transmission risk would be nonexistent. I see no cause for concern whatsoever. I suggest you review your organization's HIV policy and procedures regarding occupational exposure to bloodborne pathogens (HIV and hepatitis), paying particular attention to HIV transmission risks. Also, when in doubt, report the incident to your supervisor, fill out an incident report and get evaluated, OK?

Dr. Bob

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