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syringe injury at work

Jun 10, 2001


I have read your answer on HIV survival in a syringe. So, now I am evern more concerned.Could you please give me some idea of what my risk would be being punctured by a discarded syringe? I do not work in healthcare but a very nice restaurant. The syringe was in the kitchen area with dirty dishes and cutlery used by customers and handled by employees with unknown source. I am very scared. Thank you.

Response from Mr. Kull

The question I responded to about HIV survival in a syringe ( has greatest relevance to injection drug users and little application to accidental punctures in situations like yours. Individuals who share needles that are used to draw blood into the syringe are at greatest risk for HIV transmission. HIV is more likely to survive within the bore of the needle than it would on the surface, which is a concern for drug users who think that it is safe to use a needle that hasn't been used by another person for a few hours.

There are a lot of unknown variables in your situation that would clearly make you nervous, and HIV testing would be recommended. However, the likelihood of transmission occurring in your case is very low. It is unlikely that during an accidental puncture that any fluid within the bore would be injected into the body. And any HIV infected fluid on the outside of the needle would not survive very long in the environment. It's also possible that the syringe was not used by an HIV infected person.


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