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HIV from nurse touching needle disposal receptacle and my sterile gauze
Jul 19, 2007

Thank you for taking a moment to address my concerns, I have been unable to function since this occurred. On a recent visit to my physician, my doctor directed the accompanying nurse to draw a sample of my blood for routine screenings. The nurse then entered the room and immediately took the red receptacle for the disposal of used needles off of the counter with her bare hands. She then touched my clean gauze and needle, and put it onto the counter. The closed needle then rolled onto the floor, with which she proceeded to pick up and draw my blood. My concern is that she touched the needle disposal receptacle and then my clean gauze. She then touched the gauze again with her bare hands, and placed it directly onto my injection site. If she had rubbed her eyes, had nasal secretions, or blood on her hands, could she infect me with HIV by handling my sterile gauze and placing onto my bleeding puncture? If a prior patient had bleed on the other nurse's gloves and she then handled this receptacle, followed by my nurse touching it and then my clean gauze, is this a mode for the transmission of HIV? Please answer my question, I am desperate and would highly appreciate it.

Response from Dr. Conway

Your question is based on the concern that HIV can survive for any length of time on inanimate objects, or can be transmitted by fluids other than blood (unless, of course, sexual contact occurs). HIV does not survive well at all on receptacles or gauze. If the surface looked dry, the HIV was dead. Also, unless blood (or other fluid with heavy visible blood contamination) from the infected person came into contact with, say the gauze, and that this was immediately applied to an open wound of yours, then HIV cannot be transmitted. In your case, I think there is no concern to be had at all.

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