[Question #2576] HIV with needle prick

42 months ago
Hi doctor. My brother is a medical student and got a few needles and syringes home from the hospital ( fresh ones apparently ) last year. Since then those were unused. After over a year now, I used one of those needles today. However, I'm now anxious of contracting HIV/HCV from the needle. I dont have a clear memory of opening it from a sealed pack.( I removed it from the pack but dont remember if it was sealed). What do you think are my chances of contracting the blood borne infections? This may sounds stupid, but I'm really anxious. 
i dont smoke/ never been sexually active/ never used any form of drugs. 
what are the earliest confirmatory tests that i can do to put my fears at rest?
also, i wanted to know how common is ebv infection in the general population?
Thanks
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be happy to provide some information.   Before I do, I need to ask why you "used" a syringe at home today. 

Irrespective, if the needles were unused there is no risk for HIV, hepatitis C or other blood borne infections.  It is difficult to imagine why your brother would have brought used needles home with him but, if he had, and they had been stored at your home without use for a period of months, there is close to no risk for infection as these viruses lose their infectiousness over time outside of the body, even if in a used syringe To be honest, given the situation you describe, I doubt that there is any medical need for testing at all.  If you feel you must, results from combination HIV antigen/antibody tests or tests for hepatitis will be definitive 6 weeks after your last use of the needle..

Regarding your question related to EB virus, while there is some country to country variation, globally by age 18 or 19 80-90% of persons have had EBV.

I hope that these comments are helpful to you.  EWH. 
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42 months ago
Thank you so much for your reply. It has kind of relived of my anxiety.
Well, I stepped on a glass and I thought there was a fine piece stuck under the skin. So  I used the needle to scrape it off.  So in the chaos, I couldnt exactly recollect if it was in a sealed package. But I'm a 100 percent sure that it was not used in since a year.
So if I'm understanding this correctly, assuming the worst case scenario of the needle being used before, I still have no risk of contracting any blood borne disease?
Sorry, I'm a hypochondriac. So just making sure I get this clearly.
Thanks for everything.

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
Thank you for the clarification on why you used the needle.  You are correct, if it has been a year since the needle was last used I would not worry at all about risk for HIV, hepatitis or other blood borne infections.  EWH
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42 months ago
Okay, great.
I've a few more queries. 
1) Can HIV spread through surfaces of objects if they've been contaminated with the virus?
2) Is the RNA test for HIV accurate after 9-11 days of exposure? 
Thank you very much for the explanations. 

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
42 months ago
Final responses (the Forum permits up to three response per question).

1) Can HIV spread through surfaces of objects if they've been contaminated with the virus?
No!

2) Is the RNA test for HIV accurate after 9-11 days of exposure? 
RNA tests are typically accurate 10 or more days following the onset of infection.  We do not recommend them however because they tend to be expensive and they have higher false positivity rates than combination HIV antigen/antibody tests which are highly reliable at any time more  than 6 weeks after a potential exposure. 

This is the final response to your questions and this thread will be closed in a few hours   There will be no further replies to this thread.  EWH
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