HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
HIV Question
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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 Question

Dear Dr. Handsfield:

I had an incident seven months ago which prompted me to get HIV testing. It has now been seven months and I was ready to move on with my negative result. Then the following happened.

During my HIV test at my doctor's office, I saw that the nurse was not using gloves when she conducted my test.She knows my parents and I wondered if it was because she knew me. I did see her dispose my needle into the sharps container, so I am assuming that she does not re-use needles. Does her not using gloves put me in a situation where I have to re-test?

On the same day, I went to get a pedicure. Now I am worried that if the tools were not sanitized properly, that I could have potentially contracted HIV. I had my pedicure done right after the person before me was finished.

My Question: Do these two situations, the nurse and the gloves and the pedicure warrant any additional HIV testing? Thank you for your time and dedication to this cause.
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239123_tn?1267651214
Of cousre not.  Use a little common sense.  How can a nurse doing your HIV test without gloves give you HIV?  And people don't get HIV from pedicures.

No follow-up comments or questions, please.  There is no information you can provide that would modify my response.

HHH, MD
4 Comments
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Avatar_n_tn
hi..I am a nurse and I just wanted to comment on your question.  If I had to guess as to the nurse's rational I would say her lack of glove use would be due to the fact that when drawing blood there is usually no direct contact with body fluids so wearing them would not be necessary (needle goes in, blood enters airtight vile, needle comes out, pressure applied, done) also I know many nurses who find that it is almost an impossible task to find a vein with a gloved finger as the sensation is decreased.  Also, it would make sense that she would be an older nurse..nurses who practiced before the 1980s have a very different perspective on universal precautions then newer nurses like myself. Honestly, you have nothing to worry about at all...health care workers don't reuse needles...its more a hazard to them then the pateints anyways. As long as your test comes back negative...you're totally fine.  ANxiety is a powerful emotion..relax and let it go.  Enjoy life.
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239123_tn?1267651214
I agree with peekawho and disagree with nervous_nikki about gloving during venipuncture and other potential exposures to blood and body fluids.  Sometimes it may be easier to identify a small or deep vein without gloves, but it's easy to find the vein with a bare finger then glove up before the procedure, and I see no valid excuse to not do so.

But as you both know, this relates to the safety of the provider doing the procedures and is irrelevant to the question asked by Wantomoveon, which is why I didn't mention it in my reply.

HHH, MD
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172023_tn?1334675884
I'm an "older nurse" and I don't have a different perspective than the "newer nurses".  I wear gloves at all times when performing direct patient care that might expose me to potentially harmful substances.  

I'm not overly paranoid, but I do wear gloves.  Yes, back in the old days, it wasn't common to wear gloves for all procedures, but now everyone does if they have half a brain.

And to the OP, Dr. HHH is right, you can't get HIV if the nurse isn't wearing gloves.  The danger (if there is any) is to her from accidently getting an exposure to a blood borne illness from you.  And even that risk is very small.  

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