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Contaminated extraction tool

Question: 

Hi,
In case that extraction tool (for invasive intervention in healthcare) was not sterilized, but is exposed to air, does it allow to HIV virus being deactivated? Or if tool was sterile, but in the meantime it was exposed to environmental surface, can HIV be acquired in this way? This tool has direct contact with my blood, because skin is cutted with this tool.

Answer: 

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of HIV transmission through a cut or laceration from an unsterilized medical extraction tool.

Medical protocol dictates that the use of unsterilized tools on patients is extremely frowned upon, and can result in penalization of the medical practitioner who neglects to follow their obligation to patient safety.

In the unfortunate circumstance of invasive contact with a medical tool that was not sterilized (and was previously used on a HIV positive, and detectable patient), yet was exposed to air; the exposure to the environment before would have quickly rendered the virus inactive, and create an inopportune scenario for transmission. HIV outside the body or drying HIV is known to cause a rapid reduction in concentration of the virus when it is exposed to oxygen and environmental surfaces (1). In this case, you have an extremely unlikely risk of acquiring HIV, yet we would classify this as Negligible Risk (There are no evidence or no documented cases of transmission) merely because there could have been a direct contact with HIV positive blood, directly before the contact with your blood stream, which is technically understood as an avenue of transmission.

If the extraction tool was sterile, and exposed to an environmental surface, we would consider this to be of No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). Items exposed to environmental surfaces do not pose a risk for HIV acquisition.

Recommendation: There are no evidence or no documented cases of transmission refer to Physician for more personalized answers.

All the best, AIDS Vancouver Helpline, Cody