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Sharps Container


Thank you so much for your work! I would just like to ask one question. I recently got a rapid HIV test done. At the end, the nurse threw away the contents of the test (lancet, unit membrane, her rubber gloves) into the sharps container with her bare hands. She then gave me a bandaid for the spot on my finger where she drew the blood. I am worried about the fact that the sharps container contained the parts of other people's tests (this was a point-of-care setting where people came in to get their tests within fifteen minute time slots) that might have had HIV-positive blood on them. Is it possible for that blood to somehow get into my bloodstream from the bandaid (that the nurse touched) through the open prick from the lancet? Am I worrying needlessly?
Thank you very much!


Hello and thank you for using AIDS Vancouver as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.
There is no risk for HIV transmission to occur this way.
Firstly, HIV does not survive outside the body for more than a few minutes, it has to be HIV+ blood in the first place, and the prink on your finger would not be sufficient (open and actively bleeding)for direct access to the bloodstream. If it was not evident that there was blood on the nurse's hands when she placed the bandaid on your finger  and her hands did not directly interact with spot your finger was pricked, then there is no risk of transmission at all. 
However,  we encourage you to ask questions to the nurse about universal precautions and wearing gloves if you do not feel comfortable with the situation at hand and in order to prevent subsequent anxiety in the future concerning your health.
Hopefully this answers your question, and if you have any other questions or concerns, please feel free to call or email us.
Take care,
StephanieAIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteere: helpline@aidsvancouver.orgp: (Mon-Fri 9-4pm ): (604) 696-4666w: www.aidsvancouver.org/helpline