« Go Back

Syringe blood


Dear all,

Recently my cousin was at the playground with her baby (1.5 years old). She didn't watch him for about 30 seconds to minute while he found a syringe that may contained blood on the ground and took the needle in the mouth. Afterwards she checked his mouth, lips, etc. - there were no pokes. But she is afraid if he pushed the piston and blood from it got into his stomach.
Is this case a high risk for HIV transmission? Does the child need testing? If so, when can he do it after exposure?
Many thanks for your help!!



Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about acquiring HIV through a potential needle prick in the mouth. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be High Risk (Evidence of transmission through these activities and is the majority of cases of transmission).

HIV transmission occurs when the bodily fluid from an individual living with HIV has direct access to the bloodstream of the individual of HIV negative status through a High Risk activity.

The HIV transmission equation is satisfied in this scenario. This means that HIV could be transmitted to the baby (3). If the exposure occurred within 72 hours taking PEP is an emergency preventative option (1). PEP is taking antiretroviral medicines (ART) after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected (1). HIV does not survive outside the body (2). However, HIV can survive over 40 days in a syringe where a prick from the needle if containing HIV can lead to transmission (2).

Recommendation: Refer to Physician for HIV screening and ask about PEP for the infant.


AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Danielle