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is there any risk of HIV and Hepatitis transmission?
Feb 14, 2013

I work in a research lab. Yesterday, I caught some plastic material that holds eppendroff tubes. These were from the hospital waste and the materials were most probably to test blood or other human fluids. I holded the plastic materials with bare hands. I could see no blood or fluids with my eye. There were no visible open wounds in my hand.I think I didn't make a puncture of my skin during touching the waste materials. But because of the fear of HIV and hepatitis transmission, I washed my hands with soap and water and little bit later with ethanol. Is there any risk of HIV or Hepatitis transmission? I am very much worried that I could get HIV or hepatitis infection because i was handling the hospital waste with bare hands and the waste I was handling was diagnostic in nature.It can have been used for HIV or hepatitis testing. Should I go for the HIV test or start post exposure prophylaxis treatment or go to the doc. for counselling. Please help me I am really worried. I am vaccinated by Hepatitis B vaccine.

Response from Dr. Wohl

What you need to do is report this to your supervisor and the occupational health department at the facility where you work. There are standard protocols for evaluating an exposure and whether testing and prophylactic treatment is warranted.

From your description it remains unclear what the material was and whether you sustained an injury. Therefore it is impossible to advise you. I would say that IF we are talking about a scratch that you can not now see caused by a piece of plastic packing, the risk will be minimal to nil.

DW



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