Dentist's assistant splashed with combo of some blood & water irrigation

Question

While having a tooth cavity repaired today, the Dentist's assistant received several drops of water/blood under her safety glasses which possibly included getting into her eye while irrigating the repaired cavity. She thinks there was some blood around the tooth due to the gum having been somewhat cut while drilling out the decay. She became very agitated so the dentist asked me to go and have a blood draw for a viral load plus test for Hep B & C. The dentist (and assistant) have known my HIV status for 19 years and we often talk about my VL & CD4 counts. I have been taking Atripla for more than 3 years and am always un-detectable (other than an occasional blip to 75 or 90). Is there any risk to the assistant if a drop or 2 of my blood & the irrigation water got into her eye? I believe she will go on PEP starting today. I have a blood test quarterly which included one 2 weeks ago but I won't get those results until next week. I went to the local hospital and had blood drawn to provide them with the HIV VL, Hep B & C as of today. I assume it will continue the past 3+ years of being undetectable. I had the Hep B imunization program (3 shots) several years ago.

Thanks for your reply.

"Somewhat worried but realistically believe she is safe".

Answer

Hi,

I would not encourage a course of PEP for such a negligible occupational risk, particularly because your HIV viral load is undetectable and the blood, if present, would have been diluted with water. Also, the water/blood only "possibly" got into her eye. If the assistant remains worried, she should be referred to an HIV specialist physician for further reassurance. HIV-antibody testing for a possible occupational exposure is all that is warranted.

Dr. Bob