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blood test

Question: 

Hi
I hope you will answer me.
I was on a blood draw. Before me there were a woman, who, i think, is HIV positive, becasue she seems too slim and weak. I didn't see that the needle was new or old. What if the needle was old and re-used? Can I get HIV by this way from the woman before me. if she is HIV positive?

Answer: 

Hello and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

It seems that you are concerned that the needle that was used to draw blood from you might have been re-used and might have transmitted HIV to you. We are glad to provide some information.

Health providers are aware of the circumstances which poses risks of HIV transmission. They have therefore taken steps to ensure that when providing health services no HIV transmission occurs. We are confident that this applies to the health center you visited. We do not see any risk for HIV transmission in the incident you described. As an added precaution you can always ask to be shown that the needle used on you is new and they do this by removing it from its original packaging in front of you. This will provide additional re assurance.

On the issue that you suspect the person who was in front of you in the queue showed symptoms of HIV we would like to provide additional information. There is no way that one can tell that a person is HIV+ by looking at them. This is because some of the symptoms associated with HIV are also caused by other viral infections that are not related to HIV. It therefore misleading to yourself and unfair to the other individual when you assume that their condition is related to HIV. In any case there have been encouraging developments in medical field that people with HIV can live normal lives with increased life expectancy if they get treated.

At AIDS Vancouver we encourage people to use HIV testing as a regular health maintenance routine. This means getting tested once or twice a year. This will provide peace of mind as well as providing a chance for early intervention if it is required. I hope this information will help to put you mind at rest.

The AIDS Vancouver Helpline Online forum has postings that are related to your question that you can read for additional information. If you have any further questions feel free to contact us again.

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

In health

Lawrence

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
helpline.aidsvancouver.org