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A little unsure
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A little unsure

Dear Doctor, I have found myself in a situation that is troubling me slightly.  I have searched the internet and eased my concerns slightly with what I have found but feel the need to ask an expert.

I recently attended a blood donation drive..  When the nurse came to me it was no more than a minute before the previous person as obviously they were dealing with many people that day, she did not change her gloves but did use a new needle on me.

Please could you respond to my following queries:

1. If she got blood on her gloves from the previous patient would a minute (at most) have been enough to kill the virus meaning that it could not infect me?

2.  If she, again, had blood on her gloves from handling his sample i.e disposing of the needle etc... and then proceeded to touch my needle while inserting it into my vein would this be a viable method of transmission or would the environmental exposure make this impossible?

3.  Do I need to test over this incident OR is there no further cause for concern as HIV acquisition from this is 0.

Thanks, Milly.
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Greetings, Milly.  Welcome to the forum and thanks for your question.  Although the replies you had in the community forum were brief, they were accurate.  You can relax; you are at absolutely no risk of HIV or any other blood borne infection.

Health workers who draw blood do not wear gloves primarily to protect the patient from infection.  The main purpose is to protect themselves from infections the patients may be carrying.  Using the same gloves on sequential patients carries no risk of HIV exposure.  In fact, until 10-15 years ago, health workers never wore gloves at all when drawing blood -- and no patient ever got infected (with HIV or anything else) as a result.  The important thing is that a fresh needle was used to draw your blood.

1) Pay no attention to how long the virus survives on exposure to air.  The important thing is that nobody has ever been infected with HIV through the blood drawing process except when the same needles were used on different patients.  The biological explanations for this shouldn't matter.

2) This is really the same question in different words.  In theory, such an event could result in HIV transmission.  But it has never happened and you aren't going to be the first.

3) No testing need; the risk of HIV indeed is zero.

I hope this helps.  Best wishes--  HHH, MD
4 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Thanks very much for your response.  Just a few of follow up questions if I may, We live in what would be considered a 3rd world country and I guess the lack of western protocol unsettled me, it wasn't in the cleanest of hospitals,  but a brand new needle was definitley used.

1.  This just is not a situation where HIV needs to even be considered. Science and no other cases proves that?

2. Theoretical risk means that in the real world of HIV transmission in this way just isn't going to happen?

3.  My husband and I want to have a baby (maybe that is why I have felt so anxious over this incident) is it safe to go ahead with this and not put either my husband or baby at any risk?

4.  If you were in this situation with all of your knowledge would you even spend more than a few mins on this i.e you would be totally confident that it was not a concern and not give it a second thought?

5.  Is this really a NO RISK MOVE ON incident?

Thanks, sorry for the follow ups just really need to get it 100% straight in my head that this is not a risk so that my husband and i can proceed happily with our plans :)

I appreciate your reponse and expertise on this matter.

Kind regards.
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Avatar_m_tn
Hi Doc, just wondering if you could answer my last few questions so that I can move on and forget about this.

Thanks very much
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239123_tn?1267651214
The answers to these additional questions are obvious from my initial reply.  Answering no. 5 only:  yes. this was "really a NO RISK MOVE ON incidence".  Please try to do that.  There is no point in asking anything else; there is no information you can provide that would change my opinion or advice.  
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