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needle pinch

Question: 

Hello,
Please I really need your help.. but before I just want to tell you that I have a major anxiety disorder and OCD and im on medicine for that.. (I am gay but im not out yet, and I have a major phobia of homosexuality and hiv).
I want to ask you I went to a gay sauna last night (place is very dirty and lots of drugs), I didn’t do anything with anyone. But while I was walking around it was very dark and you can bearly see, I felt a prick or pinch in my finger, could it be a needle that contains hiv blood in it ? this is so weird I know but I did feel something .
I read that hiv lives in the barrel(syringe) or if the needle is detached or broken it can live inside the needle itself. I could not see if there was blood or not since it was very dark. But the pinch was not very painful like I did not jump but I felt something in my finger. Is this possible ? or if you get pricked by a needle you should definitely feel it ?
Please please give me some help, should I go to the ER ? ask for PEP to be safe ?
Thanks for all your help I need it, and my doctor (psychiatrist ) is out of town for now and im very scared.

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source for HIV/AIDS related information. I am sorry to hear about the recent anxiety you have been experiencing. I will try to help you the best that I can.

I will not speculate with you as to whether or not you were pricked with a needle and whether this needle was attached to a syringe. I will simply give you the facts.

For HIV to be transmitted, you must have 3 factors present. These 3 factors are listed in the table below.

HIV TRANSMISSION EQUATION

BODY FLUID
+
ACTIVITY
+
DIRECT ACCESS TO BLOODSTREAM
• blood (including menstrual) • unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse • vagina
• semen • sharing needles • anus
• pre-cum • mother to child (in specific cases) • urethra in the penis
• rectal secretions • open cuts and sores (in theory)
• vaginal fluids • other mucosal membranes
• breast milk • points of needle injection

= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION

A needle prick involves only the needle itself and is considered no risk for HIV. This is because it has none of factors listed above. If any body fluids from another person were on it this body fluid would have already exited the body and been exposed to the environment. When HIV exits the body, it is broken down and no longer transmissible. This is why HIV must be passed on from direct person to person contact.

On the other hand, needle stick injuries involve needles with a syringe barrel attached to it and usually occur in health care settings with workers getting accidental injuries through their skin. Needle stick injuries are considered low risk for HIV because of the syringe attached to the needle. These cases are usually considered low risk because there is no direct access for the needle to enter the blood stream.

In comparison, injecting with shared needles involves the intentional use of a needle with a syringe attached that was recently used and injected into another person's blood stream for the purpose of administering intravenous drug use. This is considered a high risk because the needle is contaminated and injected directly into the blood stream.

From these explanations, I hope you can see the differences between the 3 and why their risk levels are different. It is your decision whether to get tested or not. Having said this, you do not need to get tested immediately for low risk situations. If you are worried, you may go to the ER or other clinics that offer HIV testing to ensure your status. Please know that in Canada, PEP is free and is usually given to those who are at a high risk exposure and for medical professional who have had an occupational needle stick injury. PEP is only effective within the first 24-72 hours after exposure. For more information on PEP, please read the link provided.

I trust I have clarified things for you and I do hope you feel better. Please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions.

Best wishes,

Mary

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline
helpline.aidsvancouver.org
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