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HIV test with a "Lancet", are they reusable ?

Question: 

Hello, I have been tested for HIV here in the Caribbean Islands. I don't know how safe practices are in use here, the building was not in good condition and health clinic had cotton swabs dipped in alcohol and was not a pleasant atmosphere to get tested at. but i wanted to get tested so i got 4th generation test and a uni-gold test at the same time at the same clinic. their policy is to test any patient with 2 HIV test to rule out false negative. I recently saw a outbreak of HIV in a 3rd world country where needles where shared and people got HIV. I didn't let them draw any type of blood from a syringe. But they use the "Lancet" to pink prick my finger, I always get paranoid where i am in this kind of situation. Can you tell me if "Lancet's" are reusable ? or any chance of possibility of them using them ? there were bunch on them in a container. should i be concerned in this situation ? ever since i read about recent HIV outbreak, i am really concerned. Will the cotton swabs or tables or any atmosphere in the clinic would place me at risk ? should i get tested again ? please advise me! really concerned. Thanks for this service.

Answer: 

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the experience you had at your recent HIV screening, where you were pricked by a lancet. Your question appears to be whether HIV transmission is possible from the sharing of medical equipment such as cotton swabs, tables, or the lancet itself.

Suppose that the lancet you had encountered had previously been used on a patient living with HIV, who has a high viral load. For this scenario, we would consider your risk to be Low (Evidence of transmission occurs through these activities when certain conditions are met). This would have to occur under certain circumstances. Lancet would have to have been covered in residual blood, and the blood would have to be HIV+. Due to the direct access to your bloodstream, this would put you at a risk for HIV acquisition. However, if the medical equipment was sterilized appropriately, and in concordance with standard medical practice, then it would provide No Risk (HIV transmission is not possible in the given scenario).

Further, other environmental surfaces would provide No Risk of HIV transmission to you. Any residual or drying HIV+ fluid that would be in your immediate environment would be quickly rendered inactive, and thus, unable to transmit the virus.

Although the atmosphere you were tested in appeared to be unpleasant, it would be very highly unlikely that HIV transmission would occur from receiving HIV screening itself.

If you feel uneasy, we would recommend you get tested a more reputable location to put your mind at ease.

Recommendation: Please refer to Physician for more personalized answers

All the best,

AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline, Cody