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acquiring HIV from dirty needle at STD clinic
Apr 22, 2012

Hi, I understand that I sound ignorant even asking this question but it has been on my mind in the past few days and I am paranoid. I am a Senior in college and visited a free STD clinic open to the public, in an very underprivileged area where HIV transmission rates are super high in Washington D.C because I cant afford the services at my school. I know that the clinic is under the dc dept of health and is supervised by a physician but the clinician who examined me didnt even have a name tag and niether did the person who was taking my blood and when I walked in the room, the wrapper that the needle was in was already opened at the bottom (slightly)/. Is it possible to reuse a needle that is used to draw a small amount of blood for an HIV rapid test?? Whoever took my blood used the other end of the needle to suck up the remaining blood so I dont know what type it was. Also, how long does the HIV virus live on a needle like that? Thanks

Response from Mr. Cordova

Hi there:

Clinics, no matter how poor of an area they are in, are in the habit of reusing needles. Most needle packaging is split on the bottom to make tearing open the sealed package easier. Could that be what you were seeing?

HIV that is in the tip of a hollow bore needle can live longer that HIV that is exposed to air. It's hard to say exactly how long it can live. Again, it is not likely that this clinic was reusing needles.

In health,

Richard



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