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help me please anxious after needle stick injury
Aug 13, 2001

I am a doctor and igot accidently pricked by a needle after withdrawing blood from a patient.The needle had blood on it and some blood came out of my finger too.Iguess i was a little busy and i didnt think seriously aboutit for a few days.After three days it suddenly occoured to me that Imay have been infected with hiv or hepatitis B or c .Anyway it was very late for P.E.P and the patient was not contactable after wards at the address given by him to get him tested [unknown hiv status of the patient].Well Iam amarried man and Idid not tell my wife anything about it and as we were planning to have a baby soon she is very worried as I have started wearing a condom before sex.Igot an hiv elisa done after one month and it came out to be negative.Please help me as Iam very anxious to know the following things 1]what are my chances of being infected? 2]what would be the possible window period in case of needle stick injury? 3]till what time should I keep getting tested and at what intervels? 4]when can we start our normal sexual activity without condoms? Ihave searched in your past answers but I have not been able to find a similar case I humbly request you to answer my question please and at the earliest because I am feeling very very anxious thanks

Response from Ms. Breuer

You didn't mention whether you're getting tested for hep B or C as well, but I encourage you to get those tests done as well, for your own peace of mind. The chances of a needlestick injury transmitting HIV are very low, especially when the contents of the syringe have not been accidentally injected into the health care provider. It doesn't sound as though you received that kind of injury. Your negative test at four weeks is a good sign. Most sources recommend testing at 12 weeks for an accuracy level of 95%. If that is negative, I would recommend testing again at 6 months and then letting it go. As you probably know, accurate results on hep B and C are obtainable sooner.

The condoms are a really good idea, especially because of the possibility of hepatitis even if you didn't acquire HIV--which I doubt that you acquired, from your description.

I imagine you have access to an infectious disease specialist who could give you the most current thinking about when it's okay to resume condomless sex. Since I'm not a physician, I may not be as current.

As to your degree of risk from a needlestick, the most recent studies of risk from occupational exposure are available at the CDC's website. I think you'll find them comforting.

I wish you well. Please get your next test at the best HIV test site you know about, since part of making it through this period is the counseling that a well-trained HIV test counselor can provide.



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