Welcome to our Forum. I cannot comment on why you have not yet received a response. All of us answer these questions as time permits and I suspect you will get an answer which will strongly resemble the one I am about to give shortly.
I do not know where these events occurred and even if I knew, I'm not sure it would change my comments for you. The issues you describe and the possibility of inadvertent re-use of equipment is part of the reason that here in the U.S. most blood drawing is done with closed system vacuum vials and non-reusable needles. That said, the events you describe did not put you at risk. First and foremost. it is standard procedure to clean work surfaces between patients. This, combined with the fact that HIV is a very fragile virus which does not survive long at all outside of the body when exposed to air and room temperature virtually guarantee that there was no living HIV on the table surface you describe. Further, as you suggest, if there was, the virus would stay on/in the gauze, and not be transferred to you with touching. In addition, even if there were, surface contamination of needle sticks, scrapes and cuts does not lead to HIV transmission. Other than when transmitted sexually, the virus needs to be injected deep into tissue to cause infection. The same reasoning is true for other blood borne diseases.
Furthermore and practically, in addition to the fact that the virus would not survive on the table surface, please also remember that the chance that the person who sat there before you had HIV or other blood borne infections is very, very low.
You have no need to worry and no need for testing. I hope my comments are helpful. EWH
Thank you for your quick response and reassurance.
Just to clarify, this was in the Middle East. I am not concerned about the needle as I saw him unwrap this from sterile packaging and it was single-use. However, I am sceptical as to whether the work surfaces were being cleaned between patients.
I was actually surprised (and relieved) that surface contamination of "needle sticks, scrapes and cuts" is not a risk. Is it fair to summarise the issue that as long as the needle itself is sterile, there is nothing to worry about?
It seems that with HIV you do not need to worry about anything which does not involve deep penetration of some kind - whether sexual or with syringe/tattoo needles (although I am not sure if a documented infection has even happened with tattoos). Is this a fair assessment?
Correct. No reason for you to worry. EWH