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HIV, Hep-C positive hubbie, my first needle stick, PEP?
Jun 14, 2011

Together/married 15 years, while helping my undetectable load HIV positive, Hep-C (low viral load) husband clean up his morning infusion of clotting factor supplies (he: hemophilia) I pricked my finger with his butterfly. Since the needle was fresh from his vein, there was blood in it, albeit a small, minute amount since the needle first pierced the plaster sheathing I was putting it in before it pierced my skin. I 'milked' my finger, washed it with soap and water, applied tea tree and oil of oregano (both anti-virals). Called three experts. Two say yes, do PEP. One (and Body website) says, no, transmission risk is truly so low, PEP is not guaranteed, very invasive, can lower immune response, so accidental next exposure could make me more liable to risk. So - buy into fear and start anti-virals for a month, or relax, get my usual testing to confirm no HIV or HCV with blood tests? This will a Valium morning. Geez, way to start a Saturday!

Thank you, akcol

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello, Akcol.

Your HIV-acquisition risk is low but not nonexistent. That your husband's HIV plasma viral load is undetectable significantly decreases the likelihood of viral transmission. However, I would still recommend PEP in this situation. It is true that PEP is not 100% effective, but it does help to further decrease potential HIV-transmission risk when there has been a significant exposure. It does not "lower immune response" nor would a course of PEP change anything about the HIV-acquisition risks associated with any subsequent exposures! I'm not sure where you heard that, but it's not true.

Good luck! I'm here fi you need me, OK?

Dr. Bob



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