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Fresh blood on non intact skin
Jan 18, 2012

I am an anxious health care student. I was inserting an IV cannula for a patient who has not been tested for HIV. I accidentally put my non gloved finger into his fresh blood which had dripped from the end of the cannula tube. The whole pad of my finger was covered in the blood as i tried to put the end on the cannula. The maximum time of exposure would have been 5 mins. Afterwards, I washed my hands with an alcohol wipe and then soap and water. On washing i noticed a paper cut/ flap of skin which was sore but not bleeding at all, even when squeezed. The base was pink, couldn't tell if it was moist.

In hindsight i should have gone to occupational health however i was not aware of the patients risk factors. It is now outside the window for PEP and I know that there is nothing i can do now until 3 months post exposure, except be more careful.

Do you think my risk of transmission (if the patient has HIV, he has not been tested) is closer to a needlestick or splash injury?

Thank you for your help.

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

Unbroken skin is a good barrier against HIV. I would not put this risk near a needlestick or splash injury because it does not sound like there was direct access to the bloodstream.

In health,

Richard



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