[Question #1249] HIV /Hep Risk

48 months ago
Hello Drs.
During the test i had for HIV a couple days ago, I didn't look at the needle because i was afraid. Now , i wonder if the needle use to draw my blood might have been reused. The nurse who drew my blood in Indonesia used a vacutainer system, and later when i call ed her, she swore that she used an new needle and all of the equipment are also new and that she had told me but i wasn't listening or wasn't really focused. I know this sounds ridiculous, the test was done in a lab with no one around. The question is doc, if she was negligent, would a reused needle put me at risk for Hepatitis or HIV? Would this be categorized as a "needle-stick" exposure with a 0.3% risk? I was moving on with my life until this hit me, please respond doc.
Regards, 
A worried-well that is fast becoming your fan
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
Nobody ever reuses needles -- not for 40+ years in the US -- and nobody in an industrialized country has ever caught HIV from having blood drawn. Of course it's not a "needle stick exposure". This is an irrational concern. And that's all I'll have to say about it.

HHH, MD

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48 months ago
Hello Dr.HHH

Yeah i think you are right doc, it's my mind and heart that isn't on the right track, i might need to see a psychologist. Dr. do you think i should get another test just to be sure in a month? Or should i just say "forget it" and move on. I will take what you say at face value because i simply have no one else to talk to and still quite shocked due to my stupid risk (oral sex).
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
There is no need for another test. Forget it and move on.

Your "stupid risk" wasn't so stupid. Oral sex is safe sex, with low rates of all STDs and zero risk for some, including HIV.

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48 months ago
Well since i still got one more reply, i had these two painful ulcer that looks like canker sores, one below my tongue and one at the bottom right side of my mouth beside the molar. Are these an HIV symptom? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
48 months ago
Oral ulcers are a possible symptom but only in combination of other things like sore throat, fever, skin rash, enlarged lymph nodes, and fever, all starting 10-20 days after the exposure. And your negative HIV test proves you weren't infected.

It is not normal to remain so concerned about possible HIV in the face of such strong evidence to the contrary plus the reasoned, science-based reassurance you have had. If your fears continue, please consider profedssional counseling. I suggest it from compassion, not criticism. In any case, this forum is not a substitute for that, and repetative anxiety driven questions are not permitted, so please do not post any more questions about this exposure and your concerns about it. They would be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee. (The policy is intended to protect people from themselves, i.e. to not be tempted to spend money to hear the same advice; and because such questions have no educational value for other readers, one of the main purposes of the forum.)

Do your best to move on, and please do consider professional help if you cannot. Best wishes.

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