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HIV From a Blood Draw
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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HIV From a Blood Draw

Doctor, Thank you taking the time to answer my question as I am terrified. I went to a STD clinic to have an HIV test. Their policy is draw blood before giving the rapid oral test. I went in the room and the needle was on the table with no cap. The needle was on white paper towel and I did not see any blood on the towel. I assume blood would have been noticed coming from the tip had the needle been used before me. I was not paying attention due to nerves and forgot to ask to have a new needle opened in front of me. I just assumed at the time that the tech had everything ready beforehand since it is a busy clinic. My questions for you are as follows:

1) Is there a risk of transmission from a blood draw needle (a test tube was pushed into the needle to draw blood into the vacuum test tube)?
2) If it was a used needle, would the air render HIV inactive (no one was in the room for about 20 minutes before I went in?
3) I am having a HIV Nucleic Acid Amplification test done at day 6 and day 13 after the blood draw. Can I count on the results from the tests as conclusive? I thought about a PCR test also at day 10 but I read about the false positive possibility. Do you recommend any testing after the NAAT test?
4) Have you heard of anyone getting HIV from a blood draw?

I am concerned because the next day NY state changed to the needles that are on time use only (the spring inside retracts the needle).

Thank you again Dr. as I am very scared. The answer to question 3 is the one that can give me peace of mind.
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239123_tn?1267651214
Your concerns are ridiculous.  Please see the IMPORTANT notice above about obviously zero risk transmission scenarios.  Your statement "I just assumed at the time that the tech had everything ready beforehand since it is a busy clinic" probably is correct. Nobody re-uses needles and nobody in the US or any western industrialized country acquires HIV by used injection equipment and you will not be the first.

You do not describe the nature of your HIV exposure(s) or how long after the last exposure you are being tested, so I cannot judge the reliability of the planned HIV tests.  I am sure you discussed this with the STD clinic where you were tested.  If not, discuss it with them when you get your test results, and also discuss your fears about how the specimen was collected.  Or use the search link to see innumerable discussions of the exact same questions.

I won't have any further comments. Good luck.

HHH, MD
6 Comments
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I also wanted to ask if it was a used needle would there be enough virus for transmission?
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Avatar_n_tn
I know you said no further comments but the NAT testing will be 6 days and 13 days after the situation I described. If you would please answer about the reliability of the testing at the time frame I decscribed, for my peace of mind, it would be SO SO GREATLY appreciated.
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239123_tn?1267651214
You do not say when you might have been exposed to HIV, i.e. your last high risk sex or exposure or by sharing injection equipment with a drug user.  If you are referring to the blood draw in the STD clinic as the "exposure" on your mind, I have no further comment. You're on your own.
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Avatar_n_tn
Sorry about the wording on my first post. I have no high risk exposures and dont do drugs. I was testing to be responsible, for my health and the health of others. I do not want to pass anything on to someone else.

I did not see the needle opened in front of me. There is a doctor in NY that reused syringes. I realize that the blood draw needle was not a syringe but a passage way from the vein to the vacuum tube. I could not find one example of acquiring HIV from a blood draw. I guess that should have been the only question I should have asked. My NAAT test 6 days after this blood draw was negative. I was lucky because the local blood bank did the test without me donating since I help them out so much. The head of the lab said the test was 100%.

Sorry you thought I engaged in high risk situations, I do not.

I again thank you for your time and apologize for the first post. Keep up the good work, I am sure you have kept many people from destroying their lives worrying about nothing by maintaining this website.

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239123_tn?1267651214
I didn't think you had high risk exposures.  Getting tested for HIV in the circumstances you describe was really dumb.  This thread is over.  Any further comments of any kind and I will delete the entire thread, which I should have done before making any response at all.  See the disclaimer above:  "Questions that duplicate other frequent ones, for which abundant replies exist, and that have little educational value for other forum users, will be DELETED WITHOUT RESPONSE. YOUR PAYMENT WILL NOT BE REFUNDED. The most common examples of such questions are those about low risk exposures to HIV, such as oral sex, condom- protected intercourse hand-to-genital exposure, and nonsexual contact with possibly infected blood or body fluids as well as symptoms of early HIV infection."
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This Forum's Experts
239123_tn?1267651214
H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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