« Go Back

Dirty needle exposure!

Question: 

Hi,

I was injected with a dirty needle, ( was deceived about this too, had a very sick individual in my apt, unfortunately)10 weeks ago, I’ve developed candidiasis, and burning sensations in my arms.

However I have had 4th gen lab tests at 13,22,28,35,40,44 &56 days, all non reactive.

What gives? The ID specialist thinks I would have had a poz test by now if i was infected.

Thanks!

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission through sharing needles. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be High Risk (There is evidence of transmission through these activities and are the majority of cases of transmission).

The scenario mentioned above does meet the three components of the Transmission Equation. HIV does not survive outside of the body however it can survive up to 40 days in a completely sealed environment (eg. syringe) [1]. When using 4th Generation Tests such as enzyme immunoassay testing, the antibody test has a window period of 4-12 weeks. With this in mind, it is recommended to continue testing up to 12 weeks to ensure a completely conclusive result.

If you are continuously engaging in High Risk activities for HIV Transmission, it is recommended that you receive testing every 3 months. If a scenario similar to this occurs again, there are biomedical options such as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) that may drastically decrease your risk to HIV acquisition, if begun within the 72 hour window period post-exposure.

Recommendation: Refer to a health care provider for HIV testing.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Carson