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Transmission of HIV From Being Poked With a Needle At a Rave

Jul 12, 2000

Hello, I've been reading ur website and had a question myself regarding the transmission of HIV through needles. I was at a rave party about 6 months ago, when I came back home I noticed a bruise on my left wrist. I was so scared that I might of been poked because of hearing stories about people intentionally trying to poke people. What are the chances that I could have HIV? I've been worried a lot about this. I know that blood cant survive outside for more than a few minutes. If you got poked, would it look like a bruise or no? or what would it look like? Would there be dried blood that I can see? Should you be able to see a hole if blood came out? I'm also not sure I was even poked because I was on ecstasy so probably couldn't of felt it. I took a HIV test only after 1 1/2 months and it came back negative. I was worried then because I had some tingling sensations throughout my body and muscle aches all over. Also, about 5 weeks after the potential exposure, my stomach really hurt one night, no diarrhea or nothing, just felt really weak and had the chills only on the day after. I was fine after that incident. Although my stomach did hurt a few days later, then a week later again. After that , my stomach was ok. Could this be a reaction to the acute viral syndrome from HIV? I went to the doctor and he couldn't find anything wrong with me, maybe I had the flu? What are the symptoms of a flu? I had no fever or headache though. Could these symptoms be from stress or being worried too much that I do have HIV? The symptoms went away, but just recently , I've been having aching all over my body again. Its been about 6 months now from the potential exposure. Other then that, i feel fine, no other symptoms currently. Could these aches be from HIV ? I plan to take another test soon just to make sure, but I am really scared right now. I would appreciate it a lot if you could answer any of my questions. Sorry for asking so many questions! I know the only way to know for sure is through the test, but I am very curious to know if there is a chance I could be infected or am I driving myself crazy over nothing maybe. Thanks so much! John

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Dear John, This is a big "if". Although cases of documented transmission through needle sticks exist, they have been few and mostly among health care workers, e.g., nurses or lab technicians who knew for a fact that they had been stuck with a needle. A bruise is not necessarily proof of a needle stick, especially since you do not recall having felt a needle stick you.

You are correct about taking the HIV test again as the only way of knowing for sure. Your 1.5 month test result can probably be trusted, as the standard test usually detects any antibodies within 30 days. Your anxiety seems out of proportion to the risk you mention, however. Has this been your only risk for HIV? If so, your mind may be displacing some worry from another area of your life onto your extremely small (perhaps even imagined) risk of HIV infection. Stress can do this. Is it possible that you have done something truly risky, had unprotected sex for example? If not, you are probably in the clear, as your next test will undoubtedly prove. Needle sticks simply are not how non-medical workers get HIV.

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