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Dr Kull - Help Me Please
Nov 27, 2001

Please Dr. Kull, I really could use an answer to this.

Dr. Kull, I have been told by my doctor that I am at a very low risk from HIV (i may have been pricked with a needle by a bouncer in a club - however i checked my hand and saw no blood) I have also been tested for HIV at 35 days and this test was negative. However I am 2 days away from my test at 12 1/2 weeks and I have been suffering a lot of mouth ulcers (canker sores). My main questions are as follows :-

1) Is the UK test the same as the USA test? 2) Is 12 1/2 weeks post possible exposure enough time for the test to be accurate? 3) Do you think that my risk is low?

Dr Kull, I really need your help with this - I eagerly await your response - Thankyou for your work, it is most helpful. Take Care.

Response from Mr. Kull

Here are the answers to your individual questions:

1) There are no single "USA" or "UK" tests. Antibody tests are manufactured by different companies, but are held up to very specific guidelines. Any testing your have through a doctor, clinic, or department of health should be reliable and valid. If you want to know more, ask the person who provided the testing.

2) Based on official guidelines from the CDC, an HIV test can only be considered accurate if it is performed 3 or more months after exposure. Most people will develop a detectable level of antibodies within the first month of exposure. Getting tested at 12.5 weeks is more than three months, so your test was accurate.

3) Documented cases of transmission through contact with injection needles are limited to drug users who share needles for injecting drugs and healthcare workers who have accidental needlestick injuries in healthcare settings. Outside of those circumstances, it is unlikely that you would be infected by contact with a syringe. So your risk for infection (especially since you didn't see any blood) is extremely low.

RMK



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