My question is regarding exposure to blood and risk of HIV in particular, but also HBV. My exposure was not actually a needlestick exposure, but rather I accidentally poked myself with a lancet while preparing to give a patient a fingerstick, then rubbed that same finger against a test strip that already had the patient's blood on it, and it was pretty saturated. I know that the HIV virus can not live for long outside of the body, but it had only been a few minutes since I had taken the sample that this occurred. Another concern rises from the fact that the patient is now deceased, so there is no way of knowing her HIV status, and I do not have access to medical records to find out this information anyways. However, I am concerned by the fact that she was an older lady, 61 years old, and she died from mantle cell lymphoma, which of course is a type of B-cell lymphoma, which I read that the HIV/AIDS patient is more susceptible to. So my concern is, let's just say that she WAS HIV positive or had AIDS, what would be my risk of contracting the virus through this type of exposure, considering that I had a fresh puncture wound on my finger? The possibility of becoming infected has really been concerning me, this incident happened just over 6 weeks ago, I just went 2 days ago to be tested and haven't yet received the results, but this possibility is causing me a great deal of concern and stress. Also, I know that a 6 week result is not conclusive, I just had to go ahead and do it for my own peace of mind, but how long should I wait to get a conclusive result? Thank you so much for your help.
Exposures to bodily fluids are always an anxiety-provoking experience.
I want to reassure you that the risk of HIV is extremely low in your case. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control), your risk for HIV infection is probably between 0.1% (1/300) and 0.3% (1/1000).
You should strongly consider having testing for HIV, Hepatitis C (HCV), and Hepatitis B at 3 months, 6 months, and 9 months. At each interval the certainty of the test or likelihood that you will remain "negative" increases. For HIV, this certainty is over 99% at one year.
Have you received the Hepatitis B vaccination?
As always, discuss your exposure with your personal healthcare provider.
I hope this was helpful to you. Thank you for your question.
~ Dr. Parks
This answer is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
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