[Question #4440] blood tests and needle question

29 months ago
just when you guys thought you heard everything, i think i have a new question for you.

i pay for an annual blood draw from national phlebotomy which sends a technician to my office, draws blood and drops it at a lab testing center for an annual lipid and other routine physical exam. 

i am afraid of needles, so i never look at all.

without question the needles they are using would have to be new and unique to each patient, right?

and when blood is drawn, if a 'dirty' needle was used, since blood is taken from me and nothing is put into me, there would be 0.0 risk for hiv transmission this way?

thank you, doctors
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
29 months ago
Welcome to the Forum.  I'll be glad to comment. Actually, we have had similar questions regarding the risk for HIV (or hepatitis) from having blood drawn by someone after the needle had been used on another person.  Bottom, line, the risk here was lower than your risk of being stuck by lightening today.  Why do I say this?  Numerous reasons, including:

1.  First, most phlebotomy (blood drawing) equipment is designed to be single use and cannot be used more than once.
2.  Professionals who draw blood are drained in good hygiene measures, including to not use equipment more than once.
3.  Even if a needle was re-used (very, very unlikely), the person whom it was being used on would have had to have HIV.  This is unlikely since HIV insures do not typically provide insurance for individuals with HIV and since the group of people who seek insurance, as a rule, tend to be quite low risk for HIV.
4.  Finally, when HIV is transmitted through needle sticks, it is done when blood is injected into others, not withdrawn as you suggest.

For all of these reasons, I urge you to be confident that you were not exposed to a dirty needle when your blood was drawn.  I hope that this reassurance is helpful to you.  EWH
29 months ago
thank you.  

that seems clear except the insurer part.  

regardless, can we say that having one’s blood drawn in this way is a 0.0 risk for hiv transmission?

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
29 months ago
Corrent.  No risk. Please do not worry. EWH---