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Transmission of HIV through Search and Seizure done by Law Enforcement

Nov 30, 1997

What would be the chance of HIV transmission if a law enforcement officer was stuck by a tattoo needle that had charcoal on it?

How long does the virus live in a situation like this?

Would an HIV test done 12 to 24 hours later reveal anything?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question. The answers to your concerns can be found in the following posts:

needlestick injuries / Accidental exposure with needle stick

Significant Exposure - Health Care Workers

(1)CDC standards for needlesticks? (2)regarding needlesticks, how can you get the needle apparatus fluid residue tested for HIV, hepatitis and any other suspected ID's?

Normally, the HIV virus will survive outside the body for only a few minutes. However, the greater risk is for Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. In fact, Hepatitis B can survive outside the body for hours, and even days.

For an occupational exposure, getting tested as soon as possible after the exposure, is very important. This first test is called a baseline test. A baseline test is important because of workmans compensation reasons. If a person has an occupational exposure, is tested immediately after the exposure, and they test positive, this indicates that the infection was a previous infection, and was not associated with the occupational exposure. Workmans compensation would therefore not pay for costs associated with the infection. However, if the baseline test is negative, but subsequent tests at 3 or 6 months are positive, this indicates that the infection may have been through the occupational exposure, and workmans compensation would then pay for costs associated with an occupational infection.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to e-mail me at "nvhotline@aol.com" or call me at (Nationwide). I'm glad to help!



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