10 Words or Less

Question

Hi I am a phlebotomist at the hospital and I stuck myself with a blunt needle and it was enough to leave a mark on my hand but not draw blood should I be freaking out because I am.

Answer

Thanks for writing. Your hospital should have protocols for dealing with this situation. Any kind of needle stick should be considered significant enough to consider beginning PEP, post-exposure prophylaxis. This consists of several HIV drugs that are typically taken for about 2 weeks and which will prevent seroconversion.

It is critical to begin PEP (if necessary) as soon as possible, preferably within 72 hours. If you haven't sought supervision in the hospital already I would do so immediately to get the most protection from PEP should you take it.

Best,

David