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Avatar universal

HIV transmission?

I just got my nose pierced. I didn't see the guy sterilize the piercing needle and it's worrying me.  The needle was a hallow needle the width size of a safety pin or so. The ends of it are open (NOT a syringe) If he used it on the woman before me, and she had hiv would there be a significant risk? If used before me, it had been about 10 minutes or so between us. Two weeks after that, I had this tickle in the back of my throat that makes me cough. Not a continuous cough, but here and there. Now 4 weeks later I have a stuffy and running nose, and a bit of congestion as well as that tickle still. I got a rapid HIV blood ***** test 19 days after incident, and it was negative. And another at 26 days and it was negative. I have had no fever, no sore throat, no other ARS symptoms that I've read about.

1. Is there a significant risk?

2. Are my symptoms ARS related?/ Does this sound like ARS?

3. Is my 18 and 26 day negative test enough to be able to move on?

4. Is another test warranted?

This is affecting my whole life. My work, relationship. I don't even want to have sex with my husband  terrified that I have something. Please help. Your words will help me more than you know. Thank you for all your great work here! :)

9 Responses
300980 tn?1194933000
Before I answer your question, a question for you.  Was your piecing done professionally?  If so, hollow needles are not used, nor are they re-used.  If not, and the person was re-using a hollow needle, you were taking an unnecessary risk.  In that case, the question becomes two fold - what was the likelihood that the person pierced before you was HIV infected and how likely is that if they were infected, you would get HIV that way.  The answer to the first question is that less than 1% of the US population has HIV so the likelihood that the person before you had HIV was less than 1 in 100, or, if you believe that persons with piercings are more likely to have HIV, maybe twice as high- 1 out 50 chance.  Then, what is the likelihood of transmission through (worst case) improperly cleaned shared needle - estimates are the probability of infection would be about 1 in 100.  Any cleaning, etc would reduce these odds.  Thus, on the basis of the math alone, in the worst case, your likelihood of infection would be 2 out of 10,000 - not very high.  Now for your questions:

1.  See above.  The risk is low.
2.  No.  The symptoms of the ARS are TOTALLY non-specific and when people experience "ARS symptoms" they are much more likely to have something else, usually some other, more typical virus infection (like a summer cold in your case).  When this has been studied in the US, less than 1% of persons seeking medical care for "ARS symptoms" are found to have HIV, the remainder having symptoms due to other processes. In contrast, over a given year, there is almost no one who has not had a viral illness, night sweats or both (sometimes on multiple occasions).  In addition, it is also important to realize that many persons who acquire HIV do not experience the ARS.  For a person to try to judge their HIV risk based on "ARS symptoms" is a waste of time.
3.  At 2 weeks after exposure, about half of HIV tests that are going to be positive will be.  At 4 weeks that increases to 85-90%.  That you had two negative tests makes it further quite unlikely that you got HIV with your piecing.
4.  That is your call.  Looking at the numbers and your description, I think it most unlikely that you got HIV.  If you want to be completely sure, get another test at 6 weeks when over 95% of tests will have become positive for reassurance.  

It is most unlikely you have HIV.  If you had the piercing done professionally and it turns out the needle was solid, I would say you have nothing further to worry about.  EWH
Avatar universal
*Also note: When I cough now, it's a bit congested and yellow mucus is starting to break up and come out. And I had a bad headache yesterday that felt like congestion.

I don't know if this matters, just wanted to note :)
Avatar universal
It was a professional place. They do use hollow needles, but say they dispose of them right after use. I had two piercings done that day, I saw him sterilize the needle he used for my lip but not for my nose. He said he didn't use a needle for my nose, it was another instrument to re-open an existing hole. Looks like a needle but not. I don't know if I fully believe him, considering the whole looks like a new one. I can see the old hole just above it. He is a part of the association of professional piercers, but I can't stop worrying. Even more so that I feel like I have a cold.

Since 4 weeks (28 days) is 90% or so... is it the same for 26 days or am I just splitting hairs? That is what is worrying me the most. But I just couldn't wait 2 more days. My anxiety was killing me

. Right after I got my results from the test is when I felt the cold coming on. Could the 2 weeks of feeling that tickle, have been a cold coming on and when some stress left as soon as I got my results, been the reason why the cold proceeded?  I'm so sorry for all these questions :(
Avatar universal
F.Y.I The needle looks like this... just very very thin in width.
Just copy and paste if you want to see exactly what it looks like. Thank you :)

300980 tn?1194933000
Sorry.  We do not view pictures on this site.  

If it was a professional site, my guess is that they would not be willing to take the risk of infecting patients.  I would believe them if they say they use sterile needles.

Finally, 26 days is not 28 days.  It's close and I think you could have similar performance.  EWH
576132 tn?1226975773
Hello, I am a proffesional body piercer so maybe i can be of some assistance, first of all, we DO use hollow needles, but the needles we use are prepackaged and sterilized, if you saw him sterilize this needle he is doing something wrong, he should have taken each needle out of a brand new package already sterilized. so if he sterilized the needle in front of you, theres something wrong and he may be reuing needles. also, there is no such thing as a resertion tool to open a hole, a needle was used, i would look into reporting this parlor to a health inspector and tell them of your experience, also you need to have blood tests for blood borne pathogens as well as ALL sexually transmitted diseases. also, the association of proffesional piercers is a certifacate  that anyone can purchase for under $20 dollars, there is no REQUIRED certification for piercing, nor are there proffesional cources that you can take, most piercers receive their training from another piercer during an apprenticship. so any certification that he may have doesn't mean anything. if you have any more questions or anything tht i can help feel free to let me know.
300980 tn?1194933000
Thanks for the clarifications Jocilyn.  I just learned something.  EWH
Avatar universal
You're a professional piercer? You should know there is a re-insertion instrument. It's called a taper. Piercers use tapered insertion guide through the piercing to reopen it. I went through the same scare as pinklady, and have read and asked around to different piercers. Pinklady, you should believe the piercer when he says he used a taper. I'm sure he did.

Here is some written proof..just google reinsertion taper.

"Age and gauge are directly related to whether or not a piercing will close. Older piercings may shrink but not completely close which can result in the collection of dead skin cells and dirt. If you wish for the pierced area to close, remove the jewelry but continue to clean the area. Inserting a thin taper can facilitate this process.

Insert taper into pierced location. It may appear closed or shrunk but still might be open. If the pierced area has not completely healed, reopening it can be painful. After scar tissue matures and softens the skin is no longer as strong and a second piercing in the same location may be unsuccessful. In order to reopen the hole, the piercing is made behind the scar tissue and can therefore be difficult and often painful."
Avatar universal
Also, piercers should ALWAYS sterilize in an autoclave. Just opening a package is not enough. Trust me, I know how scary it is!!!!! He was doing NOTHING wrong by sterilizing!! Are you serious!?! How could he be doing something wrong by sterilizing it? You should feel comfortable seeing him do that. Jocilyn, I know you were trying to help, but you probably scared her/him more than needed.  Nothing seems fishy about your piercer pinklady. Relax and just get tested.

The doctors here say after 6 week hiv test, should be very reassuring. If the doctor is reading this...is that true? Wish you well pinklady.

You're fine!!
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