Anonymous
Couple of three days ago my friend was cleaning his some sort of micro cigar and I was listening my music while my friend try to joke me about the needle prick when his say hey when I look in my hand there was a syringe on my hand and I was shock but but there's a cap
But there is no sign of blood I ask my friend if he prick himself with the syringe and he said the needle was clean he use only for mixing any flavors from his micro cigar I keep observing my hand if there's any damage or prick and I wash my hand using alcohol only but there is no damage and small pain so in my situation is there any chances I get a low risk pls clear my mind I'm starting to get scared
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Anonymous
Hi there! Thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver helpline with your HIV related questions and concerns. We're happy to help!

I'm sorry to hear that you experienced this stressful situation! I hope my answer will be able to help you ease your mind.

When regarding needles, sharing used needles is considered a High Risk for HIV transmission, but that requires a few conditions. First of all, when referring to sharing needles, it must be a syringe with a barrel. Second, someone must have used the syringe before and injected themselves with something. The reason for this is that the High Risk comes from someone's blood being present in the barrel, which is a vacuum and provides a temporary environment for HIV virus to survive. That being said, the last condition is that for there to be a risk for you, you must have also actively injected using the syringe, in order to get that person's blood in your own blood stream.

Regarding your situation, from what I understand, you may have pricked yourself on a needle. That to me, doesn't sound like a high risk activity, because you would have had to push the top of the syringe down to have the barrell inject something into you, in order for it to be a high risk. Pricking yourself on the surface of a needle is not a high risk for the following reasons:

1) HIV is a delicate virus that cannot survive exposure to the environment outside of the body due to many factors such as air, temperature, etc. As soon as it's in the outside environment, it becomes damaged and inactivated and can no longer be passed on. Therefore, any blood or bodily fluids on the SURFACE of the needle are no longer a risk. The only risk factor is from any blood present in the barrel of a needle, as it provides a temporary environment where HIV can survive.

2) In order to have direct access to the bloodstream, the needle prick would have to be deep (such as when you actually inject something deep into your body). In relation to cuts, we describe cuts as having to be either gushing blood or requiring immediate medical attention such as stitches to provide direct access to the blood stream. In terms of needles, one would have to inject intravenously in order for the virus to obtain direct access to the blood stream. These factors diminish your risk in this situation.

So while it is difficult for me to assess your exact risk level due to many variables in the situation, it definitely doesn't sound like a high risk activity, and there isn't any reason for you to be overly concerned. Additionally, if the syringe was only being used for flavours and not any bodily injections, then there's no risk automatically!

In your situation, if you're concerned, then an HIV test could help to put your mind at ease. In your situation since this was recent, the NAAT (early) tests or the 4th generation combo tests are an option, as they test for antigen of the virus which is detectable immediately after exposure up until about 2-3 weeks later. For other antibody tests, they are conclusive at 12 weeks post exposure, with results around 95% accurate at 4-6 weeks.

Here is a website that has some information regarding needle-stick injuries:
http://www.avert.org/hiv-transmission-prevention/working-healthcare

I hope this helped! Please feel free to call our helpline if you would like to discuss this situation further.

Sincerely,

Christina

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (PST)

1 844 INFO-HIV (Toll free Canada & U.S.)

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