[Question #1960] Hiv from gloves ,cotton ball ,bandaid ,gloves on puncture wound

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85 months ago
Good day doctors /  some questions regarding HIV risk of reusing band aids ,Colton balls and alcohol swab and gloves  after a blood draw from the vein . I do prefer if dr hook  because of his style of words . But I'll try my luck 

Dear doctor 

 I'm getting to straight to the point and what are the risks if these situations did happen and if These situations were to happen it   won't be at hiv risk ?.

1) After nurse is done taking blood draw from the vein immediately a Cotton ball is applied to put pressure on  puncture site where the needle had penetrated In  the vein 

I want you to clarify if there is HIV blood or even genital fluids on the cotton ball (which is irrational and well unlikely ) . And she applied pressure on my wound after the blood draw . Can any infected material be injected in this way if not why ? 

2) Would it be classified as an open wound from the hole created by the needle? If not why 

3) My main worry  is apply Alcohol swab  in before  puncturing the vein with the needle  if it had just been re used and was fully contaminated with HIV genital secretions such as vaginal fluid or male sperm or blood  on the alcohol swab cotton  or tissue  And the nurse applies it on my puncture site and then proceeds to take my blood draw . Would the needle become contaminated once it penetrate my skin and inject the infected material which was on my skin into the blood stream ? 

4) If  contaminated gloves  after blood draw  can anything be injected into the blood stream if nurse gloves touched on my puncture wound    and does  same case applies for the band aide ? Or is the wound is too small ? 

5) If not a risk  the same apply for finger pric tests ? If one was to apply contaminated cotton ball or band aids or can in contact with contaminated gloves   on a finger pric wound 

6) Can HIV blood ,general secretions survive on cotton ball , band aids or alcohol swab tissue if it was it was used .or once outside the body they would die immediately ? . 

reason why I am asking is I just had bad experience So I would like you to tell me in general in the end that if HIV blood or general secretions were on a table or surface in general would they be immediately damaged ?  

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H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
85 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

The quick reply is that there is abvolutely no risk of catching HIV in the circumstances you describe. Even though you can think of scenarios in which it might happen (wet blood left behind from another patient, touching a needle, or touching a needle siteon your skin, etc), it simply has never happened. Even the busiest HIV/AIDS clinics have no patients who did not have the standard risk factors, i.e. unsafe sex, shared durg injection equipment, birth to infected mothers, etc (or transfusions, in past days). When someone initially claims they do not have such risks, it always turns out they either are lying or had exposures they didn't know about, such as a spouse who they did not know was infected. In the earliest days of the AIDS epidemic 30+ years ago, the absence of such cases allowed public health officials to assure the public that there is no risk from day to day personal contact with infected persons, and also no risk from having blood drawn or otherwise getting medical care.

Those comments prety well cover the situations you ask about, but to be explicit:

1) Probably zero risk even if the cotton had wet blood or genital fluids -- but I agree such contamination is extraordinarily unlikely.

2) I wouldn't call it an open wound. But it doesn't matter what you call it. There has never been a case of HIV (or viral hepatitis) that was acquired in this way, or even suspected.

3) This also is an outlandishly unlikely scenario, but would be no risk. Alcohol instantaneously kills HIV.

4) I don't know if the wound is too small. Probably. But this too has never been known to happen.

5) Yes, same for finger prick.

6) HIV dies as blood or other body fluids dry out. Wet blood or fluids probably contatin active virus, if the person is infected with HIV. But that doesn't mean there is a risk of transmisison. There has never been even one case of HIV that was suspected to have been caught by exposure to a contaminated environment. It doesn't happen. The biological reasons -- e.g. how long HIV survives -- doesn't matter.

I hope this information has been helpful. Best wishes and stay safe.


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85 months ago
Dear doctor hunter  first of  all I have read you posts on medhelp and  . I also know you have  forum rules and well tone can change if a person asks “WHAT IF questions “ and well such questions are not welcomed and it's understandable. 

 you are correct when you say people lie about there status maybe that's why the internet is such a mess  if I go somewhere else doctors misguide for reasons unknown to me . 

But you and dr hook are legitimate  ! if I have. Follow up dr hook has a different style of talking about wounds and HIV lives on surfaces such as gloves or band aids I'll i want you to allow me to comeback also ask  hook well more or less the same thing. Since two is better than one !.the answer would be the same but different way to address 

1) It is true when you say nobody has Been infected by HIV once it's outside the environment . You have also said dr hunter on medhelp”if someone's infected band aid would be on applied on persons needle wound it won't be a risk “  would you agree ? 

2) Dr hook says If cotton was re used no worries because if it was any fluids were on the table or however it may get on the cotton .  once HIV is outside the body it dies virtually immediately to room temperature and exposure to air . He doesn't talk about drying . 

3) Everybody talks about getting exposed to blood and getting injected with blood . My worry is on Genital fluids such vaginal fluids since they are transparent like water . If that was somehow being applied on my arm  instead of alcohol Swab before needle is being injected into me in future

The  answer I'm looking for it would be non active or you can say it's outside the body and it will become infectious 

4) At the moment I don't care about wounds all I want to know if it's HIV vaginal fluids or semen will be immediately inactive once outside as  you and dr hook say(except for in the syringe ) . 

I need to  know once outside it's dead by the time next patient comes in for a blood draw procedure . Dr  hook says within seconds it can't effect after it hits the environment . And the effect is immediate . So that I never worry about HIV once it leaves the body .it doesn't have to dry up to be non infectious.and I'm just referring to small amounts of secretions .just so that I don't worry ever about crazy situations .especially vaginal fluids on objects (bandaids,or cotton ball )

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85 months ago
My 3rd question would be on this statement you have made "There has never been even one case of HIV that was suspected to have been caught by exposure to a contaminated environment. It doesn't happen."  But I'll ask this in my last post just to let you know. So this post doesn't  count as question  I'll wait for the reply to my questions above  and then ill follow up thank you . 
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H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
85 months ago
My general response is that you are focused on the biological reasons why such exposures might transmit infection, and ignoring the simple fact that these things simply do not happen, or so rarely that no confirmed cases are known to have occurred. Given the absence of such events, the biological reasons really don't matter.

1) In theory, some STDs might be transmitted in this way. But to my knowledge it just doesn't happen, or so rarely that no cases are known.

2) Same answer. Indeed HIV dies with drying; and on high surface area objects like cotton swabs, drying usually would be very fast. But even wet secretions with live virus probably would still be no risk. Not enough virus can come into contact with susceptible cells to allow tranmission to occur.

3) The notion that gential fluids would come into contact with cotton or with other equipment used in blood drawing or in doing skin biopsy is outlandish, don't you think?

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85 months ago

Well yes you are right I wish I had the knowledge like you that way I wouldn't have to worry just have some thing and then we get to the main point 

1)Just incase doctor whatever material they apply on my arm on needle site and her gloves also touching to find the vein ,  if it dries after 5minutes can I just get comfortable then ?  And then proceed with blood draw . ? All doubts will be gone ? 

2)When you say “But even wet secretions with live virus probably would still be no risk. Not enough virus can come into contact with susceptible cells “ .     What do you mean by contact with susceptible cells  .these cells inside the body so basically my needle wound does not provide contact with susceptible cells as they are found inside the body ?  

In think my questions are unrealistic what are the chances that there was blood or fluids on gloves so let's get to the main point 

3)You say biological reason don't matter as no body has got HIV from contact in the environment what does that mean 

In simple terms does this mean once HIV is outside the body whatever the type of fluid  on gloves , band aids or liquid materials that I are applied on wound it just doesn't matter 

4) so hiv once outside the body in environment regardless of wounds I may have regardless of what object I get cut with and liquid my  wounds come in Cotact with  it becomes irrelevant because nobody has gotten HIV from the environment (by environment we mean HIV outside the body and it doesn't matter what object or liquid it is in ) as long it's not on the barrel of the needle . 

5) I am only worried if nurse has to touch my vein before drawing blood so I don't want to think that needs site gets contaminated  so I just wait a few minutes like I said on question 1 do you think that's enough? 

In general should I ever worry about such things and there hasn't been a document case ? 

If i have follow up with doctor hook can you please tell  not to be brief with replies and accommodate just  once that would be amazing im almost there with it  but please tell me about q1and 5)and the over all main point that HIV cannot be transmitted once it's on the environment regardless of wounds one may have so I am home free .

Hope you have a nice day doctor hunter 

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85 months ago
Just wish I can't never be at risk with HIV this way or any other actually just trying to keep my self safe .. anyways sunny day to you doctor Sunday day !
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85 months ago
At q5) I meant needle site not need site  and just to add can I avoid alcohol swab all together  thansk and good bye 
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H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
85 months ago
1,5) This would be safe, but it isn't necessary to wait 5 minutes. The blood can be safely drawn immediately after the wiping and touching. You don't need to wait at all. It is not possible that the blood drawer's hands, gloves, or cotton wipes will be contaminated with HIV. (I understood what you meant about needle, not need.)
2) You correctly understand. Only certain cells are susceptible to HIV and are located deep in the body.
3) You say you don't understand, but the next question shows you do understand. 
4) Good statement: you correctly understand.

I do hope this discussion has helped you understand that there is NO risk of HIV or other blood borne infections from having blood drawn. You do not need to take any special precautions about it. If you are at real risk of HIV (e.g., sexually or by sharing drug injection equipment), you can and should be tested for HIV. But do not worry about the testing process itself. Nobody EVER becomes infected from having blood drawn.

We're into repeated questions with the same answers, and that completes the two follow-up questions and replies included with each original question, and so this thread is being closed. 

These are the types of questions that people often tend to repeat with new forum questions. I'm going to ask that you not be tempted to start a new thread with the same sorts of questions. The forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. Thanks for your understanding. Best wishes and stay safe.