[Question #7586] Blood draw

3 months ago
Dr. Handsfield 
On Dec. 17 I went for an annual regular check-up blood draw in the local lab, plebotomist prepared the vacutainer equipment, then she uncapped the needle with one hand by holding a syringe on top of the sharps disposal bucket full of disposed syringes and blood dots around the hole, then she put back it on a dish/tray where also was a cotton ball. And the needle may touched surface. Then she put on gloves and put a tray on chair then she draw a blood. Before me there was a lady who had finger blood draw. I was so anxious about this process all these days. Results of my blood work were good. Only in my urine there was Ureaplasma, I started taking Doxycycline 100g twice a day for two weeks. I have no idea how I have Ureaplasma because I did not had any sexual activity past 3 or more years. So I was really scared of this blood draw process and internet made anxiety even worse. After 20 or so days of blood draw I had a body pain and reactive lymphs in neck, groin and armpits, and light chills, also mucus diarrea for 2-4 days. and ear pressure sometimes. I was so afraid of Hep C and HIV, so I went for testing after 32 days from a first blood draw, all negative. Sir can I be 100% sure that I did not catch nothing from that lab? How risky is such bad work of plebotomist?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
3 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services. FYI, it is only by chance that I am responding and not Dr. Hook. As described in the forum FAQs, users do not have the option of choosing the moderator who responds. In any case, Dr. Hook's and my experience and expertise are identical.

You raise two issues:  potential infection risk from how your blood was drawn, and your positive test for Ureaplasma. The bottom line is that neither of these is anything to worry about. Here are the details:

There has never been a single reported case of HIV or any other blood borne infection acquired because of how blood was drawn -- at least not in the last 30 years since single-use blood draw systems and equipment became universal. And there is nothing in the details you describe that suggests you were at risk for any infection from the procedures you have described. The symptoms that made you afraid of hepatitis C and HIV do not suggest either of those infections -- and indeed you can be 100% certain you caught neither of these from the blood draw.

Ureaplasma is an entirely normal bacteria in the urinary tract. At any point in time, roughly half of all persons age 20-40 have positive test results for U. urealyticum or U. parvum. UU might cause some cases of nongonococcal urethritis (NGU) (the research data are inconsistent and conflicting on this), but positive results in absence of symptoms do not require treatment. UP never causes disease of any kind, as far as known. So your doxycycline treatment was unnecessary -- and it probably won't make any difference in the long run. Once positive, most persons are positive again in the future, regardless of treatment. Ureaplasma testing should should not be included as a routine test in asymptomatic persons; it is included in STD test panels only because it is profitable for the lab, and because some non-expert health care providers do not understand Ureaplasma. (The same comments apply to tests for Mycoplasma hominis, also often included in urine test panels.)

I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear. 

HHH, MD
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3 months ago
I am 23, Latvia, this lab has blood draw cabinets all around the country in most of the hospitals. Forgot to mention that I also had a one toebone pain 31 Dec which lasted 3-4 days, thrn when I had diarrea I had right leg pain which also lasted 1 days. And diarrea itselft was very mild for 1.5 days and then it was just jelly like for 2-3 days. Also due to anxiety I was not eating and sleeping well since 31 dec untill few days back, ever since I started eating normal and sleeping, all these symptoms diasappeared. Also to mention I had jawbone pain for 3-4 days very similar to leg pain 2-3 month back. I am really worried why my lymphs are swallen. My doc said they are reactive but nothing to worry. Ear doctor also said there is nothing wrong with ears. Things making me worry are that, plebotomist when doing fingerstick blood draw before me may have touched blood then touched tray to get cotton ball, so the needle may have touched exactly the same place when drawing my blood. 
The last test at 32 days were HIV ag/ab and Hep C ab, all negative, are they 100%? Just read on web that if its double infection test may not be correct up to 6 month.
Can I be 100% confident considering risks of plebotomy and in addition test results and forget all this headache?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
3 months ago
This additional information doesn't change my opinion or advice. Your negative HIV AgAb test at 32 days is proof your possibly reactive lymph nodes are not due to HIV. (Although these tests do not conclusively rule out HIV before 6 weeks, they DO prove that any symptoms are not caused by HIV. You cannot have HIV symptoms with a negative AgAb test.) And HCV doesn't cause this either.

Whatever website you found that indicates a need to test for HIV at 6 months is simply wrong, especially with the AgAb tests. Six weeks is always conclusive.
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3 months ago
Do I need further testing at 6 weeks to rule out HIV? Or I can move on with 100% confidence? 
3 months ago
Re. 6 month, some websites say that if double infection (hiv and Hep C) test result woupd be conclusive at 6 month.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
3 months ago
You should not be getting tested for HIV at all, because you were not at risk. You're wasting your money, time, and emotional energy. But if you feel you must have a conclusive test result in order to stop worrying, do it at 6 weeks.

There is no need for delayed testing for HIV or HCV on account of exposure to both. But you also were not exposed to HCV either -- this test also made no sense. Medical decisions should be based on science, not emotion or senseless web searching.

That completes the two follow-up exchanges included with each question and so ends this thread. I hope the discussion has been helpful. Please do not post any further questions about these events, your symptoms, or your HIV, HCV, or urine STD tests. Thank you.
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