« Go Back

HIV risk from a used needle while drawing blood ?

Question: 

appreciate the great work you do here and are very knowledgeable in terms of hiv and that is why i want to ask a question which has always bothered me but never bother asking as i felt it would have been thought of as a stupid question.

I know this rarely happens but again it has happened i believe in New Jersey last October 2015 and recently few days ago in a different state where they are suspected of using used needles for vaccination or for needle injecting equipment. And dozens of people are being tested for blood borne infections.

I went for a hiv blood test and i was not sure if the needle used was brand new, it was placed into vacutainer i was poked in vein for blood and a sucking tube was then attached to pull my blood. If in the rare case the needle was used to draw blood from a HIV positive patient before me.

A) I know needles are suppose to be one time but if someone wants to reuse it they can even in 2016 ?

B) And i had a interesting scenario after my blood was drawn. the person who drawn my blood don't work their anymore and he did not send my blood samples to the lab. When i called for my results after 4 days they said it was not sent, so they said they will resend it. So my other worry is blood being spoiled for so long. It was approximately left unattended for 7 days. And got my results after within aprox max 9 days after my blood was drawn.

So how long does the blood stay good ? And if the blood was spoiled the lab would have notified the clinic for a new sample right ?

1. Can i get infected?
2. Even if there was hiv blood in the needle hollow it would not have gotten into my blood stream due to my blood being pulled rather then a fluid being injected into my veins?
3. Would blood if left in the hollow part of needle and i was then injected to draw blood would automatically stream down into my bood stream or does it stay tightly in the hollow part until pushed out with a fluid?
4. If there was HIV blood in the hollow part of the needle and my blood was drawn and it got sucked into the blood collection tube along with my blood which was hiv negative, during lab testing would the test be reactive?
5. What happens when HIV negative blood is mixed with another persons hiv positive blood and the then the sample tested?
6. How accurate is HIV lab test for Ag/Ab after 6months.

Answer: 

Hi there and thank you for contacting us at AIDS Vancouver, we are happy to help

It sounds like you went for an HIV test and are wondering about your risk for HIV transmission if the needle was used for an individual with HIV before being used on you.

In order to answer your question in short form, the answer is that yes there is a risk for HIV transmission through sharing needles, however like you said this is NOT usually seen in clinical settings. If you are concerned about whether a used needle was being used for your blood test, we would recommend that you go back to the clinic and discuss your concerns with them. You could also speak to your health care provider about getting re-tested if you do not feel confident about your test results.

Finally, in order for you to feel confident in your testing, you can always ask the staff to open the packaging in front of you next time that you go in for a test.

In the case that you discussed from New Jersey, there has been an effort to contact people who got vaccinated there to get tested, and we would hope that if there was a case of re-used needles at your clinic that they would contact you to let you know.

Thank you for your question and we hope that we were able to help

Sincerely,

Raveena (AV Volunteer)

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
helpline.aidsvancouver.org
Private & Confidential