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Ask Dr. D. Love Your Own Question
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love, Doctor
Category: Medical
Satisfied Customers: 18963
Experience:  Family Physician for 10 years; Hospital Medical Director for 10 years.
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There I suffer from very bad OCD around HIV infection I

Customer Question

Hi there I suffer from very bad OCD around HIV infection I went for a blood test because my tonsils have been sore - we now know it is only reflux! The phlebotomist was an older Philippino woman She didn’t wear gloves and took two attempts to find the
vein I was OK with that. however... My anxiety triggered when she foolishly put a blotted piece of cotton wool from my arm back near the pile of fresh cotton wool Of course my mind went “WHAT IF THE WOOL SHE USED ON ME WAS ALREADY DIRTY AND RUBBED IT AGAINST
MY OPEN NEEDLE PRICK…” Now of course 1. The needle was totally clean – I made sure! 2. Her hands were clean - I made sure... 3. So the only possibility is that there was fresh blood on the wool – there wasn’t. And even then the wool would have to have directly
touched my wound…and been from someone who was HIV positive. In other words, total BS! Oh...and the doctor reassured me no one had tested HIV positive in the clinic that day... My question is simple If if if there was a small chance there was some blood on
the wool she used and she pressed the wool on my needle nick would that transmit HIV? My hope is the answer is NO or at the very minimum, very very unlikely given all the usual answers about exposure to air, volume of blood, need for the HIV to infect beyond
just a surface cut etc...but i would like some reassurance. Of course, I have no PROOF this did happen.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Medical
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Hello from JustAnswer. You are correct that the answer is no. There would have been a time interval for you to sit in that spot. Even if there was blood from a previous phlebotomy, it would no longer be fresh, so any virus would have died from exposure to air, and also would not have been of sufficient volume to be able to transmit HIV. So, there is no reason to be concerned about this situation. Is there any other information that would be helpful?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
That is reassuring. The doctor also reiterated that he tested 12 patients for HIV the day I came in and none tested positive. He had had 4 HIV positive people the previous friday (London clinic) so was relieved for my OCD sake I tested a few days later!My OCD has been very bad recently. I am working on it with my psychiatrist.As I said, I am sure there was no blood on the cotton wool she used so my mind is probably playing tricks.It would be rather ironic would it not for an HIV phobe to get HIV off a blood test!
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
It would be ironic, but not a true risk in the situation that you describe. The only true risk of getting HIV from a blood test would be if they were to re-use a needle from a previous patient, which hopefully is never done.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
that DEFINITELY did not happen as I saw her open the needle from the pack!
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Then you are fine.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
thank god. i will try and put this incident or rather non incident behind me.....
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Excellent. Please remember to provide a positive rating so that I am credited for assisting you.
Dr. D. Love and other Medical Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
sorry one last question to settle my mind before bed. Are you saying that in the 5 or so mins between me and last person the virus would in all likelihood have died on the cotton wool? Also, if the wool was simply used for stopping some bleeding there would have been v small volumes of blood? correct? Finally, we'd have to assume the phleblotomist use exactly the same part of the wool to stop my bleeding. Unlikely?
I suppose with all those ifs and maybes combined with the strong likelihood this was blood from a negative person the chances are pretty small indeed!
finally. i assume you LOOK at these situations from a worst case scenario possibility? i.e. fresh blood, same wool, rubbing of blood on my pin prick etc...
In other words you err on caution.
thanks again
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
PS the added point here is that I actually think it is unlikely she did re-use the wool.
Expert:  Dr. D. Love replied 2 years ago.
Yes, any blood that would have been on the cotton ball would have died upon exposure to the air. And yes, one factor is because of the small amount of blood that could have been on the cotton ball.