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
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

Needle scratch. Please answer Dr. Bob

Apr 18, 2009

While suturing a wound on a pt the needle went through my glove and scratched my thumb. I did not bleed even though I squeezed the hell outta my thumb. The pts mother insisted that the pt was HIV negative and refused to have him tested (he was 14). The ID doc said that because the needle only scratched my thumb and did not draw blood PEP was not warranted. What do you think Dr. Bob?

Response from Dr. Frascino


I agree with the I.D. doc. PEP is not warranted for several reasons:

1. Suture needles are solid and less likely to transmit bloodborne pathogens than hollow-bore needles/syringes.

2. Your scratch was very slight. It did not bleed, even with pressure. The suture needle also had to pass through your glove before it came in contact with your thumb, which would further decrease the risk.

3. The source patient was extremely low risk (14-year-old boy).

To put any residual fears to rest you could get HIV-antibody tests per protocol for occupational exposures (baseline, three months, six months). However, I'm very confident you did not contract HIV from this incident.

If you would like to learn more about occupational exposures and indications for PEP, download a copy of the updated guidelines at

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

still waiting
QTND with a twist. Not in archives!!

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS



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 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