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Needlestick from HIV+ person
May 7, 2011

My daughter's grandmother is HIV +. My daughter often gives her insulin shots. Five days ago my daughter says she was poked with the needle after giving her grandmother her insulin shot. She says she squeezed the blood out afterwards. How effective was that? What are the chances of her getting infected from that incident? Is there anything she can do 5 days out to lessen her chances of infection?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Your daughter did have an exposure if she stuck herself after giving granny her insulin shot. Squeezing blood out probably isn't all that helpful. Your daughter ideally should have been evaluated by an emergency room physician (or HIV specialist) immediately after the accident. Depending on several factors, a course of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) may well have been warranted. However, to be effective this would need to be started as soon as possible and no later than 72 hours after the exposure. At this point there is nothing that can be done to lessen her chances of infection. She will need HIV-antibody testing at both the three- and six-month marks. The odds are still very much in her favor that she did not acquire the virus from this incident; however, testing and follow-up are still absolutely warranted.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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