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Exposure via eye from nondetectable viral load HIVpt.

Oct 9, 2009

I am a health care worker and was doing a blood sugar on a pt. With non-dectable HIV viral load, when I pulled the glucometer strip away from his finger I felt a tiny splat of something hit the corner of my eye possibly my tear duct. I reported this the employee health and they said this was not concidered a exposure and was not offered PEP. I have done some research have have discovered that this should have been concidered an exposure. 2 weeks have past and it is to late for me to take the Meds. What is the chances of me getting HIV? Do I need to use precautions with my husband. The ID Doc's at the hospital I work tell me I dont have anything to worry about. That I should have a HIV test in 3 months. Thank you, Feeling abandon

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello "Feeling Abandon,"

While I agree a blood splatter that gets into the eye is an HIV risk, you describe a "tiny splat of something" hitting the "corner" of your eye "possibly the tear duct." Since you were working with a glucometer strip, we can assume the splatter was tiny indeed. From your description, it's difficult to ascertain if blood actually went into your eye.

You did the correct thing in reporting the incident to employee health and getting evaluated. I agree PEP would not be indicated for this type of potential exposure. That the source patient has an undetectable HIV plasma viral load further decreases any chance of HIV transmission.

I agree with the infectious disease physician: Your HIV-acquisition risk is negligible at best. Your follow-up HIV tests will undoubtedly be negative. Because you are worried, it's fine to use latex condoms with your husband until your HIV-negative status can be documented. Don't feel abandoned. I agree with the assessment, not using PEP and plan to get an HIV test at the three-month mark.

Good luck. I'm confident all (including you!) will turn out well.

Dr. Bob

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