Hello there,

I reaching out because I'm really anxious about a situation that happened 2 day ago. I was taking my dog out in the dog area of my apartment complex when I noticed something on the ground. When I looked closer (not touching it with my hands) I saw a syringe with the cap on it lying in the leaves. It was filled with a dark liquid. When I realized what it was I quickly back away and left. As I was walking away I felt a dull pain in my right foot. I was wearing boots and socks at the time.
After putting my dog away I went back to the spot and carefully walked around to see if there was another syringes I had missed. I didn't see any besides the one I already found (with the cap still on) but I started worrying because of that sudden foot pain. I went back upstairs and with a soaked peroxide cotton pad, wiped the bottoms of my feet. I didn't see any blood on the pads so I didn't think much of it and went on with my day. I also check the bottoms on my boots and see anything sticking out.
But later in the evening after I got out of the shower, I looked at the bottom of my right foot and noticed a tiny break in the skin. Almost like a pin prick. There was no blood but I poured peroxide on it again. There's no pain when I touch it but I cant shake the feeling that I might have stepped on a needle that I didn't see. I'm not sure if the pain in my foot after first seeing the needle is all in my head. I just got more anxious and worried after seeing the tiny pin like break in the skin.
Would I have noticed if I had stepped on a syringe and it went through my boot? Would my foot have bled some if I had? Is getting prick by a needle enough for HIV and Hep C transmission? Should I get tested for HIV and Hep C? Am I at risk?

I realized these are silly questions but I haven't been able to stop thinking about it.


Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question you were asking about the possibility of HIV transmission through a needle prick.

From the information given, this scenario is determined to be High Risk (There is evidence of transmission through these activities and are the majority of cases of transmission). Stepping on a needle is considered a High Risk for HIV transmission, and should warrant immediate attention. If you have stepped on a used needle of unknown origin, it is imperative that you seek medical care right away. There are biomedical preventative measures that you can take within the 72 hour window period post-exposure that can aid in the protection against HIV transmission, such as PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis).

Recommendation: Please refer to a health care provider for HIV screening, and any other screening methods that are recommended by your physician.

All the best,

AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline, Cody



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