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freaked out lab tech

May 5, 2008

Hey Dr. Bob! I am a lab tech at a biotech company working on HIV therapy. Recently, I was bleaching some concentrated HIV+ infected cell culture bags. I was wearing a lab coat, goggles, sleeves, and double gloves. To bleach the bags, I placed a large container inside a biosafety hood. I filled the container's bottom about 4 in full with bleach. I injected about 6 mL bleach into each bag and then carefully dumped the bag's contents into the tub in the biosafety hood. When I was finished, I opened the hood and poured an additional amount of bleach into the tub to make sure everything was covered in bleach. When I was emptying the tub into the sink a drop of the contents flew up and hit me on the forehead. I removed all my safety gear and washed the area with soap and water. My supervisor said that the material is no longer infectious because it was bleached in the bag, and dumped into bleach and allowed to sit for at least a min. Is is safe to assume that I dont need PEP even though there is a concentrated HIV+ cell culture involved? Thank you! I really enjoy this forum and reading your hilarious answers to questions! VIVA OBAMA!

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your chances of acquiring HIV from this occupational exposure are the same as the chance Obama will invite Rush Limbaugh to be his VP running mate. Even if the HIV were "unbleached," HIV cannot permeate intact skin. PEP is definitely not warranted.

Obama just won Guam!

Dr. Bob

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