Advertisement
The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Read Now: TheBodyPRO.com Covers AIDS 2014
   
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
           
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary


Please help, v. scared and have been trying to find answers for three months! (I'm sorry to keep asking, but I don't know who else to ask)
Jan 29, 2009

Hi Dr. Bob,

I'm sorry to keep asking you and I know you're very busy, but i'm re-sending my question as I am extremely anxious and am hoping you can give me some answers.

I am a medical student. I had an incident 13 weeks ago in which I was taking down a dressing from a patient of unknown HIV and Hep-C status. I felt something sharp on my finger, and when i looked down I had poked myself with a metal clip from an ace bandage. The ace was not visibly dirty where the clip was, but the patient did have an open ulcer lower down on his leg. The clip was in white (not dirty-looking) ace bandage over gauze over unna boot, and it wasn't visibly bloody. I couldn't tell if the clip broke my glove, and I couldn't see a cut on my finger (but I've often noticed that needle-stick type punctures don't always leave a mark).

I have been freaking out ever since, worrying that the patient was HIV or HepC positive. At the time, one of the residents I was working with convinced me it was nothing and I should just relax. I know seriously regret not going to employee health and having the patient tested. My question now is, when do I get tested? I know three months is right outside the window period, so I will get tested. Do I then need to be tested again at 6 months? And what if the patient had both HepC and HIV? I've read that there can be delayed seroconversion up to a year if there is simultaneous infection. Is there any way to rule all of this out ASAP or will I have to keep testing for a whole year?

Please help, I am a very scared medical student and I am afraid of infection my fiance and my family. I want to stop this worrying as soon as I can!

Thank you so much for your patience, and I am praying you will be able to answer my question soon!

PS - I know I have anxiety issues, and I am being helped for that, but I just can't get these HIV worries out of my mind becuase I feel like I am goign to infect someone I love! I don't know what type of test to trust (i want to go anonymously to one of the government STD clinics in NYC but I'm afraid they will use a rapid test that isn't as accurate).

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

I agree with the advice your resident gave you. The incident you describe would not be considered an HIV or hepatitis risk. If my reassurance isn't enough to shake your worries away, get a single HIV antibody test at the three-month mark to put your unwarranted worries permanently to rest. Your problem is not HIV, but rather fear of HIV. I'm glad you are getting help for your anxiety issues. These types of irrational fears could severely compromise your effectiveness as a physician. Had you been evaluated by occupational medicine/employee health, I believe they too would agree with my assessment. Even after the fact, you can still report the incident and if needed get your HIV test through that program.

Dr. Bob



Previous
im giving myself a yahoo
Next
Feedback - no need to reply

  
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS


 
Advertisement



Q&A TERMS OF USE

This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint

Advertisement