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Hiv from gynaecological instruments, Please help me!

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Scared Mom:
Hi all!

This is my story: I went to my gynaecologist 7 weeks ago and after the examination I accidentally stucked my hand to a bowl were they kept all the used gynaecological instruments, not needles or sharp objects. I had a small superficial cut on my hand that was not even bleeding. I did not notice any blood or other body fluids on my hands and I washed them immediately with soap. To be honest I noticed the cut later when I got back home so this tells you it was not a big wound.

My doctor told me that there was no concern but he ordered hiv and hep tests. They took the first set of tests right after the incident and everything was OK. Then the doctor said I could get second tests 6 weeks after and after that no more testing is needed. Well, I did what the doctor told me and got tested on Tuesday. Other tests were OK but when I heared that my HIV test was negative I found out that the 4th. gen. ELISA test had been reactive. Not positive but close to the detection line. They had sent it to another lab where they did 4 additional test to it including the Western Blot. The another ELISA had also been reactive but the separate antibody, p24-test and Western Blot had been negative.

Now I am in panic! Is it really possible that I have got HIV from this incident? Why was the ELISA reactive? Is it because it is too early to find the antibodies after 6 weeks? All these questions are running inside my head. The doctor said there is nothing to worry about but I can't stop thinking what if... I have a small child and I have been breast feeding her because the doctor told me it's OK and there is no risk. I am so scared not only for my own sake but also for my little girl!!! Does anybody know has there ever been such reported cases as mine? I know that you can get hiv from blood/body fluids to a broken skin so am I at risk now and should I keep testing? Should I stop breast feeding even though the doctor said there is no need for that? Please answer!!!

Thank you!  :'(

Matty the Damned:
Mum,

First up relax. There is no risk of HIV infection from what you describe and your test results prove it.

ELISA tests can return "reactive" results for a number of reasons other than HIV infection. The much more specific and sensitive Western Blot test confirms your negative result in this case. The rule is:

Positive or reactive ELISA + Negative Western Blot == HIV negative.

Western Blot trumps the ELISA test every time.

I would recommend that you take the time to read our Welcome Thread which contains links to our testing and transmission lessons and familiarise yourself with how HIV is and is not transmitted.

Once again you have nothing to worry about. You are HIV negative.

MtD

Scared Mom:
Thank you for your rapid reply! I actually have read the welcome thread (meny times) and would still like to know what kind of wound must one have to be able to catch the virus when cotact with blood or body fluids? Big wound with huge amount of blood?
 
Thank you for your answer anyway!  :)

Matty the Damned:
Mum,

I appreciate your concern in this case. Finding your hand in a bucket of used pedersens must have been icky to say the least. But after 25 years of studying the HIV epidemic we've learned that HIV just isn't transmitted that way.

HIV is a fussy, fragile virus and it demands particular circumstances to be transmitted. HIV is transmitted via:


* Unprotected anal sex (receptive or insertive)
* Unprotected vaginal sex (receptive or insertive)
* Sharing contaminated injecting equipment (needles and/or syringes)
* And in certain cases from infected mother to child in the womb
Given that, from what you describe, these don't apply in your case, we're pretty safe in concluding that this wasn't an HIV risk at all and testing wasn't warranted in the first place. Nevertheless, you have tested and your test results demonstrate that you're HIV negative for the reasons I've explained above.

Issues such as wound size and amounts of blood required are really not relevant. HIV is transmitted inside the body and doesn't tolerate hostile environments such as water filled buckets and human skin.

Really, you can accept your negative results and get on with your life. Yes, you can continue to breastfeed your daughter.

Regards,

MtD

Ann:
Scared,

I totally agree with Matty that you were not at risk for hiv in this bowl-of-delights incident.

False positive ELISAs happen. In fact, pregnancy can sometimes cause them - and it is possible that yours was caused by your own recent pregnancy.

The good news is that the confirmatory tests proved your ELISA to be false. You are hiv negative - you do NOT have hiv.

Ann

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