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Author Topic: Vacutainer - needle question  (Read 6240 times)

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Offline Cinderella

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Vacutainer - needle question
« on: January 11, 2012, 03:55:27 PM »
Hi

Sorry if the language isn't entirely correct. I'm from Scandinavia, so English is not my first language. A few days ago, I went to an STD clinic to be tested for HIV. I'm not sure what happened in there, but as I didn't see the nurse unwrap the needle, uncap it or anything, I have this fear that she might have forgotten to change the needle between me and the patient who was in there before.  Now I'm extremely worried… I can't stop thinking about that needle piercing the skin, directly into the bloodstream. I wish I hadn't taken this test!

You're probably going to say that nobody never, ever uses the same needle more than once. But nurses also make mistakes, right? So if she wasn't paying attention, couldn't it happen? Or are the needles designed in a way which makes it very obvious if you're about to reuse them? Is it really impossible to catch HIV this way?

I've read in here that the virus quickly dies when exposed to air. She used what I think is called vacutainer.  If she used the same needle on me and the other patient, she must have removed the tube from the other patient.  I'm trying to calm down by thinking that in when disconnected from the tube, the needle must have a hole in both ends, and any blood/virus inside the needle would have been exposed to air. Is this right? Is it the tube that creates the anaerobic environment making the virus able to survive, or could the virus remain able to infect inside the needle when there's no tube connected to it?

I'm also wondering if anything could be injected into my body when withdrawing blood, as the vacutainer is designed to withdraw, not inject.  On the other hand, when healthcare workers have a needle accident, they don't inject anything, and they have a risk, right?

As this was an STD clinic, I'm thinking that it is not very unlikely that the patient before me was HIV positive. In the worst case scenario, could this be a risk?
Please don't answer just that it didn't happen, so therefore no risk. I would really appreciate it if you could explain to me why it isn't a risk, if that's the conclusion you're going to make. And if it really is a risk, I have to know. I don't want to put my husband at risk, do we have to use a condom until this situation has been cleared out?

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2012, 03:58:59 PM »
At no time were you ever at risk of contracting HIV from have blood taken for testing.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2012, 04:14:44 PM »
This is all in the domain of "what ifs." That's a bad place to hang around in. You have no factual basis for your fears about the incident and we are not going to indulge you in this kind of speculating.

There is no basis for your fears about this kind of unprofessional behavior in an STD clinic. Stop it now.

You were not at risk. Get on with your life.
Andy Velez

Offline Cinderella

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 05:10:04 AM »
Thank you for replying. However, it would be easier for me to let go of this if you could explain to me why you consider this to be no risk. I would really appreciate it if you could answer the specific questions. If this was no risk, how come healthcare workers take PEP after needle accidents? I want to go on with my life, but I just don't understand why this is a no risk situation if she reused the needle.

Offline Cinderella

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2012, 05:45:29 AM »
Please help me -  I'm scared! All I can think of is that needle. I even tried to call the clinic to ask the nurse if she was sure the needle was brand new, but she has been sick every day since I was there, so I haven't been able to talk to her. When she's back, I guess there's been so many days that she can't even remember me and what happened in there. Please explain to me why this is a no risk situation. All I want is to let go of these needle thoughts.

Offline Ann

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2012, 05:49:01 AM »
Cin,

Health care workers take PEP when the needle-stick happens IMMEDIATELY after the needle was in the patient. Even before the advent of PEP, infections due to needle-sticks were exceedingly rare. When nurses do become infected through needle-sticks, it involves the nurse taking blood from a patient and then accidentally pricking themselves with the blood-filled syringe.

In your situation, you didn't have a risk because taking blood from a patient involves sucking blood out, not injecting anything into the body. Hiv transmission from needle use involves injecting fluids and blood directly into the blood stream.

This is nothing like what might have happened to you had the needle been reused.

But a mistake like this would be rare. RARE. Add to this the low incident of hiv infection in your country and, well, you're just letting your imagination run away with you.

We've had plenty of people come here over the years who had the same concerns as you do - and not one of them ended up hiv positive over it. Why? Because it's not a risk.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Cinderella

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2012, 09:26:28 AM »
Thanks a lot, I do feel better now. I just have a question for clarification: When you say that health care workers take PEP when the needle-stick happens "IMMEDIATELY" after the needle was in the patient, does that mean that the virus would not survive inside the needle for the minutes (probably 5) it took between the other patient and me? As I mentioned, if the needle was reused, there was no tube connected to it in the meantime, so I guess any virus, if present, inside the needle must have been exposed to air. Am I right? Does it have to be a syringe instead of a vacutainer needle to be able to infect, or is there no difference?

Are you saying that EVEN if the patient before was HIV+, and EVEN if the needle was reused, it's not a risk? I can forget all about testing again and have unprotected sex with my husband again?

Thanks again. Hopefully I will be able to put this behind me if you could just clarify these things, please.

Offline jkinatl2

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2012, 04:15:32 PM »
A) the virus inside a needle would only remain viable for a very short time.

B) The needles used in the collection of blood are never re-used, not only because of the chance of contamination, but because after their first (and only) use, the needles are so blunt that pushing them back through the skin would be torture for anyone involved.

They are simply not designed for multiple uses, which is why they are relatively painless to pass through skin.
"Many people, especially in the gay community, turn to oral sex as a safer alternative in the age of AIDS. And with HIV rates rising, people need to remember that oral sex is safer sex. It's a reasonable alternative."

-Kimberly Page-Shafer, PhD, MPH

Welcome Thread

Offline Ann

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2012, 05:17:14 AM »
Cin,

Another reason why needles are not re-used is because blood has a habit of clotting. I only remembered the incident I'm about to relate after reading JK's response.

About five or six years ago when I went for a routine blood draw, the nurse had a difficult time finding a vein and when she did finally, it only worked for one vial (I think she accidentally pushed the needle out of the vein). After she removed the needle from my arm, it took her a couple minutes to find another vein. When she did, she changed the needle before proceeding.

I asked her "why?" She told me that the needle was out of my arm and lying on the table long enough for the blood in the needle to start to clot and she didn't want to have the process fail again because the needle was blocked - and also because it would be more difficult to get the needle into the vein as it would be blunted.

Another reason needles do not get re-used is the fear of lawsuits. Having your licence to practice medicine taken away from you or having to pay a hefty fine are powerful motivators to not make mistakes and re-use needles.

So you see, there are many reasons why needles just do not get re-used for drawing blood.

You are worrying needlessly and it's high time you got on with your life.

Ann

« Last Edit: January 14, 2012, 05:19:29 AM by Ann »
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Cinderella

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #9 on: March 05, 2012, 08:59:54 AM »
Hi

I'm back with another concern, and would be really thankful if you could tell me whether this is an hiv situation or not.

After shopping today I went to the parking garage to pick up my car. When throwing away something else in the garbage bin, I accidentally threw my parking garage ticket as well. I needed the ticket to get out of the parking garage, so I had to put my hand (no gloves) deep into the garbage bin and search for the ticket. It was dark, and the opening was small, so I couldn't really see what I was touching in there. And now I'm afraid that I may have been stuck with a needle. There are many IV drug abusers in this area of the city, which makes me worry. I checked my hand afterward, and I couldn't notice any blood.

If I got pricked with a needle in the garbage bin, how deep into the skin would the needle have to penetrate in order to cause hiv infection? Would I have been bleeding? Would I have known for sure that I was stuck, either by the pain or by being bleeding? Is injecting necessary to get infected, or could a superficial needle stick be sufficient?

I really hope you can calm me down! I guess this is stupid, but I just need to know if it is possible.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 09:02:26 AM »
That's another what if question. The answers are, had you got pricked by a needle in a trash can you still wouldn't have had an exposure to HIV.

Offline Ann

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2012, 10:02:09 AM »
Cinderella,

If Prince Charming came up behind you, pulled down your jeans and underwear and had unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse with you while you were rummaging in the trash, then you would have had a risk. Or if you and the prince decided to get high together and you shared a needle with him immediately after he used it. Neither of these things happened to you.

If Prince Charming didn't share with you and got high on his own and threw the syringe in the rubbish, you would not have had a risk if you pricked yourself on the needle. There has never, ever been a documented case of hiv infection through random needle pricks - and believe me, it's something that happens fairly often to sanitation workers and other public servants. Hiv infection just doesn't happen this way. It's an urban myth.

As an adult, you are only going to put yourself at risk for hiv infection if you have unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or share needles with other drug injectors. Here's what you need to know in order to avoid hiv infection:

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL sexually transmitted infections together.

To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI. Sex without a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through the condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

ALTHOUGH YOU DO NOT NEED TO TEST OVER ANYTHING YOU HAVE BROUGHT TO US, anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results.

Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Use condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently, and you will avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple!

It sounds to me like you're developing an irrational hiv phobia. You would be wise to seek mental health counselling before it gets out of hand. We cannot help you with that here.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline Cinderella

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2012, 08:19:03 AM »
Thank you so much. I've been trying to stay off HIV websites for a while, hence this late reply. You're probably right that I'm developing an irrational HIV phobia. I've gone through a tough time lately, and I know that these things never bothered me before. The idea of HIV would probably not even hit me in the situations with the blood test and the garbage bin.  I will discuss this with my doctor next time I go to see him.

Being the scared person I am right now, I will definitely not do something that would put myself at risk. A few days ago I had sex with a guy, and intended to stay safe. So I didn't let him put his penis inside my vagina, but he was rubbing it against it, and the penis head, with precum on, (he was wet) was between the inner vaginal lips. I've read that frottage is no risk, but would this be considered as dipping, as the penis head was inserted between the inner vaginal lips? These are c mucous membranes, right? What's the difference and the lines between frottage, dipping and full penetration?

What worries me most, is that I probably have a yeast infection (he knew about it). After the incident I read that yeast infection will increase the risk of getting infected with HIV, because it makes the mucuous membranes weaker. If this act is considered frottage, is it still safe even though I had this yeast infection, making the mucous membranes weaker? It's really important to me to stay safe, so I hope that the yeast infection doesn't change anything and that I can put this hiv-thought away.

Offline RapidRod

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2012, 05:10:23 PM »
You did not have an exposure.

Offline Cinderella

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #14 on: March 27, 2012, 05:53:56 PM »
Thanks again, I'm glad to hear that this wasn't an exposure. However, unfortunately he ejaculated on my arm, right where I have a psoriasis outbreak. It had bled a bit the day before. Are there any cells present in a psoriasis outbreak that hiv can infect, or is it just as safe as cum on undamaged skin?

Does this change your assessment in any way, or is it still no risk? Do I need to test? Sorry to bother you again, but I read that psoriasis could increase the risk for hiv if exposed to contaminated fluid, and that made me worry. 

Offline Matty the Damned

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #15 on: March 27, 2012, 06:10:29 PM »
Thanks again, I'm glad to hear that this wasn't an exposure. However, unfortunately he ejaculated on my arm, right where I have a psoriasis outbreak. It had bled a bit the day before. Are there any cells present in a psoriasis outbreak that hiv can infect, or is it just as safe as cum on undamaged skin?

Does this change your assessment in any way, or is it still no risk? Do I need to test? Sorry to bother you again, but I read that psoriasis could increase the risk for hiv if exposed to contaminated fluid, and that made me worry.

Cinderella,

You have already been advised that you were not at risk. This latest thing about psoriasis doesn't change that assessment one iota.

You were not at risk of being infected with HIV.

Please understand that you will not be allowed to keep posting what-ifs nor will you be permitted to ask the same question again and again.

I draw your attention to the posting guidelines for Am I Infected? which are outlined in our Welcome Thread. If you continue in this fashion you will be given a 28 day ban from the forums.

Consider yourself warned.

MtD

Offline Cinderella

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #16 on: April 04, 2012, 07:51:04 AM »
I'm sorry. I didn't mean to ask the same question again and again,  and I understood that the frottage incident was no risk. But then I read that if you have a sore, there will be many immune cells concentrated on that spot, and that those are the cells that hiv infects. Isn't this true then? It made sense and freaked me out, so I just had to ask if psoriasis will count as a sore, or if it destroys the protective barrier of the skin.

Offline Ann

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Re: Vacutainer - needle question
« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2012, 08:39:40 AM »
Cinderella,

This question has already been answered.


Cinderella,

You have already been advised that you were not at risk. This latest thing about psoriasis doesn't change that assessment one iota.

You were not at risk of being infected with HIV.

Please understand that you will not be allowed to keep posting what-ifs nor will you be permitted to ask the same question again and again.

I draw your attention to the posting guidelines for Am I Infected? which are outlined in our Welcome Thread. If you continue in this fashion you will be given a 28 day ban from the forums.

Consider yourself warned.

MtD

We have better things to do other than answer the same question over and over and over again for the same poster.

I strongly urge you to seek out the services of a mental health professional so you can stop this slide into hiv paranoia. We cannot help you with that here.

I'm giving you that time out you've been warned about. Do not attempt to create a new account to get around your time out because if you do, you will be permanently banned.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

 


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