Possible Exposure to HIV/HEP C fluid

Question

Hey Dr. Bob,

I am worried about my risk of contracting HIV/HEP C. Here is my story. I am a HCW and was running an opioid infusion (sufentanil) when i saw a bubble in the iv tubing. I tried to aspirate the bubble with a syringe a got a couple of drops of blood from this known HIV/HEP C pos patient. So, I stop aspirating and inject the (now blood-tinged) syringe back into my infusion bag (approx volume 100 cc). Three hours later the infusion is stopped and the remaining volume is drawn up into several syringes to waste. There was a cap (luer lock) on each syringe except for one. I put these syringes in my disposable jacket pocket. I proceed to waste all the drugs into the trash. Now, my concern is that what if a drop of that fluid or residue from the uncapped syringe was in my coat pocket and I remember putting my hand in there with a 1 day old cut on my index finger...but I didn't feel anything wet? Should I be tested for HIV/HEP C???? WOULD YOU TEST YOURSELF???

Also, this is stupid question but I am just paranoid. Would you feel a needlestick if you are wearing 3 articles of clothing in your back?? Yeah..I am crazy, I know.. but just need to know!!

By the way...you are awesome!! Truly a saint!

thanks!!

Worried HCW.

Answer

Hey Worried HCW,

  1. I see absolutely no need for HIV/hep C testing based on the incident you related in your post.

  2. Yep, you'd feel the needlestick. If you don't believe me, go ahead and give it a try at home. But be prepared to say OUCH! OK?

Dr. Bob