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lancet
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lancet

Hello Doctor,
My question is regarding a lancet prick. When having a rapid test I did not realize if the nurse/nurses assistant took out a new lancet. It appears to be a lancet which cannot be reused again-maybe disposable, it came in a plastic casing which she pressed the top and it pricked my finger (I have researched it and it looks like the hameolance plus lancet) I of course don't think she would do it on purpose but the clinic was busy and i am not sure if she picked up one that was from a previous patient that went in before me. I did the test as a check up for pregnancy at a planned parenthood. I have called and spoke to them they state that a new one is used on each patient I am just so scared and worried that it could've happened by accident. I recently dont have insurance and it was my first time at a planned parenthood. Is there any risk of hiv transmission from a lancet?? I was told that with lancets there is absolutely no risk but how is that possible to say a zero risk with no need to retest if possible blood could be exchanged? Thank you for your help.  
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300980_tn?1194933000
Welcome to our Forum. We receive many questions of this sort.  I hope that my responses will help to relieve your concerns.  First let me comment on the lancets. There are no reusable lancets widely available in the U.S.  Lancets are single use, disposable devices.  Second, health care professionals receive substantial training in procedures to avoid infections including proper disposable of potential sources of accidental sticks.  In fact that training is so effective that it is almost automatic and typically occurs so smoothly that many persons are not aware that the disposables are being changed, thrown away, etc.  thus the chance that you were somehow stuck with a lancet used on another person is close to zero.  

But you wonder, "what if....".  Even if this were to somehow happen, the chance that you would be infected is also very, very low (in medical science we never say never). I say this for several reason including the fact that the persons seen before you was HIV infected is extremely low and, more importantly, because lancets are solid and not hollow (as needles for injection or blood drawing are), there is no place for blood to collect so that it could then be transferred to you. As a result, sticks with solid objects are lower risk than with hollow point needles.


Thus, to summarize, there is no realistic reason for you to be concerned that you got HIV from a re-used lancet during your recent visit to Planned Parenthood.  Your risk of getting struck by lightning is substantially higher.

Take care. EWH
9 Comments
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Thank you Dr. Hook for the detailed explanation you just provided me.

I had no clue about that fact regarding the lancets/lancet devices!

I have been in a state of complete worry since the day I went to get my check up and this has helped me better understand- as you can see by tons of research I have tried to do on the lancet and lancet device. I wish the Planned Parenthood I visited could tell me which brand they use but they stated they were unable to because it varies by month because it is whatever they are sent.

I believe my worry is stemming from my being uncomfortable going to a clinic I had never been to before and then of course with me hearing so many negative things about Planned Parenthood. But I am hoping/assuming that they take the same precautions that any other doctors office/lab would take when doing these types of procedures.

If you wouldn't mind Doctor Hook one more question regarding HIV being fragile. I keep reading everyone saying that it is a zero (or almost zero risk) because HIV is very fragile and once exposed to air would become inactive. How is that so? Isn't the situation of a needlestick with a lancet the same as a healthcare worker being stuck with a needle on the job? Or would they not receive PEP if it was a solid needle?

I apologize for the long book I just wrote to you. A million thanks for your patience.
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300980_tn?1194933000
No, being stuck with a needle is different from being stuck by a lancet for the reasons I mentioned above.

Furthermore, being stuck with a needles from a hospitalize person is far higher risk than being stuck with a needle in a setting like Planned Parenthood because pateints in hospitals, who tend to be sick (that's the reason they are in the hospital) are more likely to have HIV than the average patient being seen at Planned Parenthood.

Please do not worry.

EWH
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Avatar_f_tn
Ok, I will have to learn to accept the facts. I am just worried sick about passing this to my unborn child and my husband.

Dr. Hook, if you were in my shoes, would you retest in 3 months?

I also remember the boy that went before me was extremely worried and was still waiting there as I left with my results. This has lingered in my mind wondering why his test was taking so long to read. That is why I am afraid they reused his lancet on me and that he could've been positive.
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Avatar_f_tn
Dr. Hook, please help by answering my question. I'm sorry to bother. Would you feel the need to retest again in 3 months if you felt something like this occurred? This has been absolutely awful I can't stand thinking I have to wait 3 months.
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300980_tn?1194933000
This will be the last answer.  I indicated earlier that there was no risk to you from the situation you were concerned about .  Logically, therefore there was no need to test.  For you to remain concerned is illogical and most certainly there is no need to test at 3 months.  EWH
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300980_tn?1194933000
This thread is over.  Further questions will be deleted without comment.  EWH
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Avatar_f_tn
Dr. Hook I have great news. I just wanted to share so that anyone else going through this situation can find some relief from reading it. I called the planned parenthood I went to and went in to speak to them. They were very kind and actually explained the procedure step by step. They showed me the lancets and how they are used and once she pressed it it no longer worked again- completely useless after being used once. The spring no longer worked again and the needle disappeared. This has put my mind at ease- at last! Thank you for everything, I just wanted to give an update.
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Avatar_f_tn
Dr. Hook please help me. I'm not sure if you deleted my last post bc on my phone sometimes the posts don't show up right away. I am pregnant I need your help
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