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Unsafe Testing Site
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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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Unsafe Testing Site

Hello Drs.

I am a ,man who finally got up enough courage to go get an HIV test 15 weeks post a low risk encounter. I went to a local Clinic that I had heard about through word of mouth. All things that I heard were good until my encounter with my clinician. I am trying to gain knowledge to my risk in my HIV testing scenario.

I went in after a man that had been talking to me in the waiting room...easing each others fears we discussed our risks (dont ask me why) later I did find out (by him) that he was confimed positive that day. I on the the other hand I was negative.

My concern is the Clinician. I might be overreacting but please tell me what you think. The clinincian was very cold and had a horrible attitude. She used the Oraquick Rapid finger (blood) test on me. Before I realized what was going on I noticed that she wasnt even using any gloves to gain the blood specimen. The liklihood that she had used them on the guy before me was slim to none.

She used a lancet to collect my blood. It was grey in color and had a red bottom where the needle or blade came from. She also had a very large OPEN can at her feet where there were hundreds of old tests and cotton balls with blood on them... (a sharps or biohazard container?)

To make a long story shorter my concern is this. Could I have been infected from the guy that tested 5 minutes before me? With an attitude like that and the way she conducted her test it makes me worry. Could that grey lancet have been used twice? What if there was blood on her fingers from him or if the blood specimen loop to collect my blood that she used was reused?

I am scared to death. I have lost a lot of sleep and really dont know what to think anymore. Could you please advise?

Thank you for your time
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I am sorry to hear that your experience with the clinician who tested you was so poor.  I will not make excuses for her although I will point out that if this is her regular job, to be doing the same sort of thing again and again can be mind numbing.  That doesn't excuse bad "bedside manner" however.

That your interaction was not pleasant does not mean that you are likely to have been infected by her.  You are correct that it is standard practice to use gloves and she should have.  Nonetheless, you can be confident that you were not infected by her.  The lancets used are designed for a single use and really cannot be used twice in an effective manner.  In addition, the fact that she had the sharps container at her feet indicates that she did dispose of her testing materials after each client.  You did not get infected by her.  No one in the U.S has been infected in the manner you worry about and you will not be the first.  You do not need further testing.

Take care and have a Happy New Year.  EWH
4 Comments
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Drs I infact forgot to tell you that I went to another clinic after this episode and tested again. It has been three weeks since the first episode. My test did come back negative.

Thank you
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Thank you for your quick response DR...

One last question. I am pretty confident now that I wasnt infected from a lancet but what about if there were blood on her fingers? or blood on the blood (specimen) loop? It would have been about 5 minutes old as that is about the time I went in after the positive person ahead of me.

Thank you,

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The scenario you describe really is not even worth considering.  EWH
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