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Worried after blood test
Aug 18, 2012

Dear Ms. Southall,

I am worried about the following:

Today I had some blood tests taken at a reputable lab. They took 3 samples into 3 different test tubes (I'm pretty sure they were the sealed kind of tubes). But what morries me is that the lab nurse brought those tubes and a piece of cotton on a metal small plate (kind of kidney shaped), which I noticed had some reddish stains (looked like blood to me, looked dry also but I'm not sure). The needle was new and taken from a drawer and she stuck the needle on my arm as always, and then proceeded to change tubes 2 more times keeping the needle in. He only had one glove on (on the hand he used to change the tubes and with the other hand stuck the needle on me. after this, he took a piece of cotton from the metal dish/plate and put it on the little wound from the needle prick and told me to hold it while he took a band aid and when he was putting it on I told him to please put me some alcohol and change the cotton for another one. So my trouble is what if the test tubes and/or cotton that was put on my arm just after the blood was drawn touched the red stains I mentioned... There were no blood filled tubes that I could see around, so I don't know how long since the last patient had had blood drawn. Would I be at risk for HIV because of this episode, supposing the stains were actually from infected blood?

Also, I had these blood tests because I am having surgery on friday (a hair transplant). This is another worry for me because, although the doctor is a professional and performs those surgeries almost every day for many years now, and asks every patient for an HIV test before surgery, and he claims all material and tools are new or disposable or thoroughly sterilised... maybe it could happen that one of his patients was on his window period while taking the required test (he only asks for a single antibody test.He also asks for other tests, (hence my visit to the lab today to get all done). To make things worse, I know of a very high risk homosexual who has had surgery there, so I will be sitting on the same chair, using the same remote control for the TV, etc, but naturally there will be a lot of blood involved in the opertation and that's the scary part. Do you see any risk from this? I want to be calm while I wait for and during the surgery. Can I be confident that it will be a safe procedure regarding HIV risk?

Please answer both parts of my post since they are both worrisome to me(the lab blood drawing part and the surgery part).

Do I have anything to worry about?

Thank you very much in advance.

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi Nothing that you have described puts you at risk for HIV. And everything that the doctor has told you is true and during a surgery transmission is actually easier from the patient to the doctor not the other way around. HIV dies once it is outside of the body and then with the cleaning of the instruments all of that reduces the risk of HIV. Also it is important to remember that the doctor does not want to get HIV as well and will do all that he can to protect himself and his staff.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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