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Lancet

Question: 

Can a used lancet from a diabetic transmit HIV to me? I was working at a restaurant, and a costumer came in that was diabetic. He took out his diabetic kit to test his blood sugar. He used his lancet to prick himself and then took his insulin. He then preceded to wrap his trash in a napkin and asked me to toss it for him. I reached for it and prick myself on his lancet and blood came out. I asked if he has anything and he said no that he was healthy other than being diabetic. But still I am worried if he was telling me the truth or not. Could he have transmitted HIV to me through a lancet. I research that a lancet isn't a needle that is hollow but a solid pin. Please help me I am unease right now in my mind.

Answer: 

Hi there, thanks for contacting AIDS Vancouver with your questions. We're happy to help!

There's No Risk associated with pricking yourself with a needle from a lancet. The reason is those are solid needles, and they don't have a syringe or a barrel. HIV risk associated with needles comes from syringes that have barrels, because the barrel is air-tight and can preserve the virus temporarily. You have to actively inject yourself with a syringe that was used by an HIV+ person in order to have a risk of acquiring HIV from a needle. The situation you describe is No Risk for 2 reasons.

1) HIV is a delicate virus that cannot survive outside of the human body (except in unique situations like airtight syringes because they are a vacuum). therefore, when the man pricked himself, any blood that he had on the tip of the needle is exposed to the environment, and so the HIV Virus would become damaged and inactivated and unable to be transmitted, thus eliminating risk.

2) The needle prick would not be sufficient to provide direct access to the bloodstream. The needle would have to be inserted intravenously to be a risk, or otherwise, you would need a severe cut such as one that's gushing blood or needs immediate medical attention such as stitches. If these are not the case, then there's no risk of HIV transmission.

I hope this helped! for more information, please visit avert.org

Sincerely,

Christina

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