NON-OCCUPATIONAL NEEDLESTICK

Question

Dr Bob, Firstly I think some of your replies are just lovely, especially to those who are totally scared, which is at the moment, me. I have been unfortunate enough to have had a needlestick injury whilst cleaning out an old locker at work. The locker had not been used for at least two weeks, as the key had not been signed out for this period of time. The needle was one that would be used to take blood with, it scratched my skin, and when I squeezed it, it didn't bleed, but I felt it 'prick' me. There was no visable blood on the needle, not even down the hole. I called my Dr who told me I was at a very low risk, and didn't suggest I take PEP. I am totally traumatised by this event. I don't know what to do. Do you think I have been put at risk of HIV/ hepatitis? Do you know if anyone has caught anything from this type of incident? What shall I do now?

Answer

Hi,

What should you do? Stop worrying about HIV and hepatitis! That's what you should do! These viruses do not live long outside the body. The locker hadn't been used for two weeks. Plus, your prick didn't even draw blood! Your fears are completely unwarranted. PEP certainly was not warranted! If you remain concerned, despite my reassurance, get a single three-month HIV test to put these irrational fears permanently to rest. The result will undoubtedly be negative.

Dr. Bob