Avatar universal

Dirty needle stick

I am going to try my best to keep this as short as I can. I’m a paramedic working in Georgia. On October 2nd 2020 I had my first ever dirty needle stick exposure that at this point has caused me great mental distress. The patient was a young female who admitted to drug use. I picked her up at a residence that at best did not look like the cleanness. She was staying with a male who I assumed was doing drugs with. I forgot what her medical compliant was. I initiated an IV on the patient in the AC and unfortunately did not successfully place it. The dumbest moment of my career was not retracting the IV right away and placed it to the side for a couple seconds to put a bandaid on the patient. When I went to pick up the IV, I accidentally poked myself on my right index finger. Bleeding was notice and I did not clean it right away (second dumb mistake). 

After getting to the hospital, the patient was okay with being tested and her tests did come back negative for HIV. I started my infectious disease protocol that night and the urgent care I was sent too did not want me to take PrEP since the patient tested “negative.” 

My initial tests were all negative. This is where it starts to get bad for me. About a week and half later after the dirty needle stick, I started to develop a mild fever, vertigo for two complete days that caused me to vomit and a swollen left armpit lymph node. This lasted for about four days before subsiding. The next symptoms that developed was weird rashes on my body. I developed what looked liked liver spots on my back and then a nasty looking no itchy rash on the back of my neck that almost looked like shingles but was not. It did take weeks for it to heal after multiple creamed. Next symptom I had was left eye blurry vision that no eye drops was helping. I was eventually sent to a specialist that said I had herpes and gave me antivirals which relieved the issue. Next odd sign was a CBC draw that showed a slight decline in total WBC and a neutrophil count about 200 below normal cutoff. I believe the total was around 1,350. About a week and half ago I developed body aches, chills, fever, dry cough and sore throat out of no where. I was tested for Covid using a rapid and PCR. All negative and the flu and strep was also negative. All the symptoms pretty much subsided expect for the dry hacking cough that is still going on 8 days. 

Here is a list of all the testing I have had since the dirty needle stick. 


Type: Dirty Needle Stick
Date: October 2nd 2020

First Test:
10/02/2020: Negative

10/31/2020: Negative (1) (29 Days out)

01/03/2021: Negative (2) (93 Days out) 3 months

05/26/2021: Negative (3) (236 Days out) 7.7 months

09/14/2021: Negative (4) (347 Days out) 11.4 months

11/30/2021: (5) (423 days out) 1 year, 1 month and 27 days

HIV: Negative
Hep C: Negative
Syphilis: Negative
Herpes: Negative

12/20/21: (6) 1 year, 2 months (444 Days out)

HIV: Negative
Hep C: Negative
Herpes 1: Positive
Herpes 2: Negative

All the HIV tests aaa the 4th generation tests sent to LabCorp. 

I have struggled to believe the results of any of these tests due to all the symptoms I have dealt with and never received an answer for. What scares me too is these tests are never 100% conclusive. 

I understand no one can diagnose me and I’m not asking for that. I was just trying to maybe find someone who had a similar experience or maybe even can offer me some advice or insight because now it seems like whenever I get sick or something abnormal happens, I always relate it to the needle stick. I have not been sexually active for probably 8-9 years at this point. 

Thank you to anyone who even took the time out of the day to read this. You all are a blessing


3 Responses
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Avatar universal
"I understand no one can diagnose me.... I was just trying to maybe find someone who had a similar experience "  Your post is not well thought out, because you are trying to self diagnose which disagrees with the first part of that post that no one can  + anyone else's experience has nothing to do with your chances so the second part will also be of no use to you. Reread all of GR's advice because those multiple negative tests indicate that it is time to seek therapy because this is a long time to be worrying.
Helpful - 0
I can’t argue with that logic. I’m denying I’m not dealing with PTSD and an irrational fear. I just wish this never happened and I never dealt with all these symptoms and conditions over the year after the stick. What I was before the stick and not what I am after. It’s bad. That’s why it was always hard for me to believe the tests especially since is a drug user in Atlanta which is high in HIV rates. I’m sorry.
The first thing to accept is that you don't have hiv symptoms, at worst you had symptoms of something else which in most cases has been properly diagnosed by a doc per your post - and have gone away. Medical students sometimes think they have the disease they are studying because their "symptoms" seems so real. Seek therapy.
Avatar universal
hiv symptoms can't start for 2 weeks so your first list couldn't even be hiv. Then read GR's advice to try to forget about this.
Helpful - 0
May I ask why you say that when medical websites explain that flu like symptoms are common and mostly reported roughly 2-6 weeks after exposure…
Do those sites that you frequent also let you know that hiv doctors can't diagnose from symptoms therefore it is a TOTAL waste of your time to study them and draw guess-conclusions that they can prove something?
20620809 tn?1504362969
The way HIV works is that 1.  The person has to HAVE hiv to give it to you and this woman tested negative (so did not).  2. it's not diagnosed by symptoms, EVER. and 3. It is diagnosed by testing. ONE negative test taken at the appropriate time frame is conclusive let alone the several negative results you have gotten.  You do not have HIV.  Work place exposures or occupational exposures are very rare.  Here's a quote from the CDC ---  "Occupational HIV transmission is extremely rare.
Only 58 cases of confirmed occupational HIV transmission to health care personnel have been reported in the United States. An additional 150 possible transmissions have also been reported to CDC.*"  

You don't have HIV and since this has plagued you for so long, my suggestion is to see a psychologist to get over it.
Helpful - 0
Thank you for the comment. It is much appreciated. I’m sorry it took me a minute to respond. I am just getting over a sickness and it has been crazy here at work.

1. The patient was an IV drug user and I am scared she was early to be detected with a high viral load.

2. I guess me watching YouTube videos on patients who was diagnosed with HIV, what symptoms they had and when they noticed it. All of it lined up perfectly with me and it scared me.

Occupational exposures are rare but I guess I keep thinking I am that rare case. If I never noticed my body changes that I listed above, I would never even be thinking about this.
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