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HIV in occupational setting
Apr 15, 2011

I am a health care worker who last week was working with a patient with a very high Viral Load (upward of 263,000) and was giving him a bath at 11:30 am. I had gloves on but earlier that day (at like 6:30 in the morning) I had a very superficial cut that bleed a very small amount (maybe 2 drops) very briefly and then started to heal almost immediately. We had soap in the basin but he was scrubbing his face and got some blood on the towel (Maybe a Tablespoons worth). My peer then put the towel in the water basin (very large, 2 gallons at least). I then noticed that some water from the basin had gotten under my glove and possibly on my non-intact skin. I immediately removed the gloves and washed my hands. The hospital put me on Combivir. What I'm worrying is what is the risk for something like this? I mean, is it possible for the small amount of blood to get from the towel, through the soapy water, under my glove and possibly infect? Everyone keeps on saying that it's nothing and I'm probably overreacting- I just wanted to ask an expert.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

I agree with "everyone" who "keeps on saying that it's nothing and you are probably overreacting," except I'd leave off the "probably."

I would not have recommended a course of PEP (Combivir) for this negligible risk.

Dr. Bob



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