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accidental needlestick
Mar 12, 2008

What is the risk after a needlestick from hiv needle? I was giving a subcutaneous injection with a nova pen insulin when i pricked my finger. it didnt bleed but i started milking my finger and blood came out. i immediatley had alcohol on it. i went to the health dept for testing right now it was negative and i go back in a month. the pt viral load is high. what do you think? whats the likelhood of me catching hiv?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

In prospective epidemiological studies involving health care workers, the average risk for HIV transmission following a percutaneous exposure to HIV-infected blood (such as a needlestick) has been estimated to be approximately 0.3% (95% confidence interval of 0.2% to 0.5%). Consequently the risk is low, but not completely nonexistent. In health care settings, particularly if the source patient's HIV plasma viral load is known to be high, PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) would be recommended. Elevated viral load would increase the risk of viral transmission. PEP should be started as soon as possible and no later than 72 hours after the exposure. Hopefully your visit to the health department included an evaluation of whether PEP should be started. PEP or no PEP, you'll still need follow-up HIV-antibody tests at the three- and six-month marks.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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