[Question #7683] Feet Near Open Bin of Used Needles

1 months ago
Hello -

When I went to receive my COVID vaccination, there was an open bin with a lot of used needles and gauze under the table right next to where my feet were. Is there any risk of me getting HIV from this (I have rectal herpes, which I understand does not increase risk)? Is there any risk to my pants or shoes being contaminated and me tracking HIV into my house? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
1 months ago

Welcome to the Forum.  Thanks for your question.  Congratulations on having received you COVID 19 vaccination.  The scenario you describe was a no risk event.  Being in proximity to used needles, without sustaining a penetrating needle stick is a no risk event.  Please remember that most people do not have HIV and when they do, other than sexual transmission, the infection is transmitted only through direct injection of contaminated material into tissue. The virus does not spread through the air or non-penetrating touch.

I would have no concerns about HPV related to the events you describe.  i see no need for testing etierh.

I hope that this comment is helpful.  EWH

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1 months ago
Thank you. I just want to clarify. I know that based on what Dr. Handsfield has said, rectal herpes type 1 does not increase risk of HIV. So is my understanding correct that the only way HIV is transmitted is through sex and needle sharing? My concern is that being in such close proximity to needles and gauze that somehow my shoes / pants could have been contaminated and I walked home around my house and then took a shower washing my feet and rectal area with the same wash cloth. Is this a way to get HIV?  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
1 months ago

I'll be glad to clarify.  You are correct- HIV is transmitted only through direct sexual contact or injection of infected material deep into tissue. Being in proximity to the virus is not a risk factor.  Getting infected material on your clothing or shoes is not a risk factor for HIV

For further clarification, while rectal (or genital) herpes is a well recognized risk fact for acquisition of HIV when the area infected by the herpes virus is in direct contact with someone else with HIV and who has direct contact and exchange of infected secretions that contaminate the herpes infected site.

Hope this clarifies things.  EWH

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1 months ago
Thank you. In a previous question titled "For My Son" Dr. Handsfield wrote "The scientific data are clear: HSV1, anywhere on the body, has no influence on HIV risk; it is an issue only for HSV2." Is this information correct? 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
1 months ago
Yes. EWH
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