Anonymous
I was walking and I stepped on a sewing needle. I am now scared of hiv. I bent down to take a pic of it!! If it
Pricked me would I be at risk?
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Anonymous
Hello there!

Thank you for using AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source of HIV/AIDS related information.

To answer your question, there is absolutely no risk of acquiring HIV from the situation you described. HIV is a very fragile virus that dies once it is exposed to air. The only reason needle sharing is considered a high risk activity is due to the possibility of transmission of HIV positive fluid surviving inside a chamber or a barrel attached to used needles. The chamber/barrel would be protected from the air and any HIV positive fluid inside could be transmitted through direct injections. Sewing needles do not provide such opportunity, and any HIV positive fluid on the surface of the needle would have died immediately upon air exposure.

Here is the equation for HIV transmission, which lays out the general criteria needed for HIV acquisition:

---------

BODY FLUID WITH HIGH LEVELS OF HIV (blood, semen, rectal secretions, pre-cum, vaginal fluids, breast milk)

+

ACTIVITY (unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child)

+

DIRECT ACCESS FOR THE VIRUS TO ENTER THE BLOODSTREAM (vagina, anus, urethra in the penis, open cuts and sores, other mucosal membranes, points of needle injection)

= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION

---------

It might also be helpful to check out the risk assessment chart at our Helpline website, which outlines the risk level for other possible activities with regards to transmission of HIV: [http://helpline.aidsvancouver.org/question/risk-assessment-chart](http://helpline.aidsvancouver.org/question/risk-assessment-chart).

In short, you have definitely not acquired HIV. However, I would recommend talking to your healthcare professional about the last time you received a Tetanus shot.

I hope this answer was helpful. Please feel free to contact us again if you have further questions or concerns.

Hani
AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
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