Jul 11, 2008
Dr. Doctor, I was recently exposed to the HIV virus while at work(nurse). The exposure was classified as low risk. I got heparin solution-possibly blood in a paper cut (cut was about 15hours old)on my thumb. More than likely fluid was heparin and not blood. The exposure was during a procedure and the heparin solution/blood came from a connection of tubing.I washed my hands after the exposure and went to the ER. I took the PEP medication. Do you think I am at high risk for contracting HIV? even if it was blood? the possible blood I came in contact with was a CD400 count. Also since I am taking the medication will it take longer for HIV positiveto show up? This is the first time this has happened to me at work-so it really freaked me out. Oh and the reason I was offered the PEP meds is because there was no way for sure to know if there was blood or if it was just heparin in the transducer. Thank you
Response from Dr. Frascino
From the limited information provided in your post, I would agree your HIV-acquisition risk would be very low. You immediately took appropriate action by washing your hand and being evaluated for your occupational exposure in the ER. You took PEP. Consequently, you've done everything you can to prevent HIV transmission. Next, you'll need post-PEP HIV screening at the three- and six-month marks. By following these guidelines for testing, there should be absolutely no cause for concern about delayed seroconversion. You can download a complete copy of the updated guidelines for occupational HIV exposure and the use of PEP at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5409a1.htm
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