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Tire needle

Question: 

Hi, I work at a tire plant where we retread tires. Theirs a small bore needle (no syringe attached to it ) we use as a tool to poke air bubbles out of the tires. This needle has a opening on the top and at the tip but we put a cap back on the tip after use. It was sitting around for 2.5 days without any use with the cap on the tip and the top opened to air then I used it and poked my thumb ( small poke with little blood coming out ). Since theirs an opening on the top of the needle where air gets to it could I get HIV if someone poked themselves 2.5 days prior or would the virus be inactive?

Answer: 

Hi there and thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver with your questions. We're happy to help!

To answer your question, no, this is not a method of transmission for HIV, and is considered a no risk situation. HIV is a very delicate virus, and cannot survive for long outside of the human body. Once is it exposed to the air, the virus becomes damaged and is no longer able to transmit. Any blood that was on the top of the needle would have already been exposed to the air and thus constitutes a no risk situation.

I also wanted to talk about the reason why small cuts like that do not pose as a risk for HIV transmission. To help my explanation, here is a copy of the AIDS Vancouver transmission equation that we use to determine whether or not there is a risk for transmission:

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

In order for there to be a risk of HIV transmission, all 3 factors (body fluid, activity, and direct access to the bloodstream) must be present. The main thing lacking in your interaction is direct access to the bloodstream. In order for a wound to provide said access, the cut needs to be gushing blood and require immediate and professional medical attention. A small pinprick like the one described in your question does not provide direct access to the bloodstream.

If you’re interested, here are some great resources to help further your understand about HIV Transmission:

Avert and CATIE are two fantastic and reliable website concerning HIV transmission and testing, and I highly encourage you to take a read through if you have any further questions.

I hope I was able to answer your question, and feel free to contact us with any further concerns.

Regards,

Sierra, Helpline Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
helpline.aidsvancouver.org