Anonymous
I'm a 22 year old nurse, doing my internship in a fairly big hospital.
Last Friday I was taking two syrignes with medicine to a man who was suffering with leukemia.
He looks like a drug user. Anyways. I took the needles off the syrignes to give them to him through his vein catheter. The one lid of the three way was not closed properly so when I opened the three way, his hand got blood on it.
I was wearing gloves of course and I wiped the blood off with a tissue.
I was trying to fix something in the vein catheter but because I couldn't cut the tape with my hands I thought I could use the needles.
I know big mistake which I faceslapped myself for later. I got the needle and I accidentally pricked myself. On the tape were no obvious marks of blood (I think, not fresh at least). When I took off the glove there was no wound either on the finger but I didn't press my finger to see if it will bleed.
After the accident I washed my hands with soap and chirodes and later at home burnt the area with a lighter.
The needle was a 21g hollow one and used only to get the meds out of their containers.
If the blood on tissue touched the needle or if I touched the blood on tissue with my glove but without getting blood on it, would the needle inject HIV or HCV to me?
I'm being very anxious and waiting until I can take a 4gen test. I try to recall the accident again and again worrying if I missed a detail, something that could maybe increase the risk.
My hand feels numb very often which it worries me. It feels exactly as when I was vaccined three weeks ago for the diphtheria -tetanus. Could numbness be occured this quickly from an exposure? I am taking my temperature every day but I have no fever.
Thanks in advance.
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thank you for choosing the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source of information.

I understand how this incident can be worrisome. Hopefully the information provided below will provide you with some peace of mind.

HIV transmission requires all of the following:

1. Body fluids containing high levels of HIV, e.g. blood, semen, and vaginal/rectal secretions,

2. A high-risk activity, e.g. unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or the sharing of needles, and

3. Direct access of HIV-containing fluids into the bloodstream, e.g. through the vagina, anus, mucus membranes, or points of needle injection.

4. A controlled environment, which means no exposure to the air. Activities like unprotected sex or the sharing of needles are high risk activities since they don't involve any exposure to the air, while activities like mutual masturbation or frottage are negligible to no-risk activities since they involve full exposure to the air.

Because the blood you're concerned about was exposed to air prior to contact, you are not at risk for HIV transmission. As per point 4 above, once HIV is exposed to air, the virus is no longer transmitted. HCV however is more easily transmittable. For more information on HCV and it's transmission, please reach out to a health care professional.

As far as the numbness goes, that is not associated with HIV. In general, there are no clinical symptoms associated with HIV. This means that no consistent physical symptoms have been observed among people with HIV. With that being said, some infected individuals do experience a strong flu-like illness 2-3 weeks post exposure, and this last for about 8-10 days. However, some infected individuals experience no symptoms at all.

Moe- AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Online
Monday- Friday 10am-4pm (PST)
Phone: (604) 253-0247 ext 210
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