[Question #6292] HIV RISK?

17 months ago
Hello Doc,

Firstly i would like to appreciate all that you're doing. My question relates to possible HIV transmission risk. 

Somewhere around mid Feb this year i had anal sex with a csw. On the 7th of March i took an HIV duo test and that came back negative. I had a further retest on the 31st of May in Pakistan in a well known pathology lab and that too came back negative. Now i am nearing my medical examination in Dubai as my visa is expiring and I am getting increasing paranoid that what if i got infected with HIV on the last test as i don't remeber if he used a clean syringe or not. Between my test in May and now, I have had skin rashes and oral ulcers come and go, was diagnosed with acute bronchitis and recently I have been having a very stuffed nose/cough. I am becoming very stressed and anxious regarding this whole experience and the only thing going through my mind is that I MAY have HIV.

1. Is it possible that I may have gotten infected by the syringe used in my last test?
2. Might sound kinda stupid, but could it be that both test may not have picked up the HIV even though it may be there?
3. I am increasingly thinking of getting another retest(I have not have any sexual contact since Feb), do you think given what i have said above, is it warranted?

Thank you Doc for your answers 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago

Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your questions.  I'll be glad to help.  I'll go straight to your questions:

1.  There is no meaningful risk in having your blood drawn for testing in a licensed, regulated commercial laboratory.  The have detailed procedures and take many steps to avoid even accidental needle reuse.  In most settings using vacuum tube to draw blood. the devices used to get the blood from your vein into the tube are designed to only be used a single time.  In settings where syringes are used, again. the syringes are typically disposable and only used a single time.  In a well established commercial lab there should be no concern about having had your blood taken using a used needle.  Thus there would be no risk for infection of any sort.

2.  HIV is transmitted only through DIRECT, unprotected sexual contact with an untreated infected person.  It is not acquired through the usual activities of daily living.  I would have no concerns that you would have been infected since the last sexual encounter that you describe above.

3.  From what you have said, your 31 May test results should be reliable and there is no need for further testing.

I hope this information is helpful.  I am confident that when you are tested for your visa the test will should that you were not infected.  Thus I see no reason for concern or for further testing.  Please feel free to use your up to two follow-up questions if any part of this reply is unclear.  EWH

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17 months ago
Hi Doctor,thank you for your timely response.

In your experience have you ever heard of a case where HIV has been transmitted from a blood draw? 

Also as I have had no other exposure other than this blood draw episode since my last test can I take the negative result to be conclusive ?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
 No, I have not heard of an instance in which HIV has been transmitted to another person in the process of blood drawn by a medical or laboratory professional.   I would consider your May 31 results conclusive and see no reason for additional testing. EWH ---
17 months ago
Thank you Doctor,

Really do appreciate the help and advice!
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago
I'm please I could help.  EWH---