Anonymous
I got two stitches from an accident, My concern is I wasn't sure if the instruments they used were sterile. I only noticed that the syringe and suture were new. But there was no noticeable blood stained on the instruments.
Would it be possible to transmit HIV from this. I was the only patient that night. I assume if there was HIV, then its been exposed to the environment.
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about your risk of HIV acquisition when you received two stitches in a hospital or doctor's office. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

The scenario mentioned does not meet the three components of the transmission equation(1). It does not satisfy the equation because:

* HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2).

* For transmission to occur there must be HIV present in a bodily fluid(ie: in blood, semen or rectal secretions), direct access to the bloodstream(ie: the vagina, anus and other mucous membranes) and a risky activity(ie: unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child).

In the scenario you provided you state that you were the "only patient of that night", because of this, we are assuming that you received your stitches from a healthcare professional in a doctor's office or hospital environment. Within a healthcare setting there are strict guidelines and practices followed for the sterilisation of medical equipment that further reduce the risk of acquiring HIV(3). In your scenario, you stated that the syringe and suture were new and you did not see any blood stains on the other instruments. Remember from above that HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host. This means that even if there were bodily fluids on the medical instruments you saw, the bodily fluids would have been outside of the body, exposed to environmental conditions and unable to reproduce. In the scenario you described we can conclude that there was no exchange in bodily fluids, and you were not engaging in a risky activity.

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, please refer to your physician for any other health related questions.

Regards,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Hilary



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