HIV & Hepatitis | Need Help & Advise

Reply Sat 19 May, 2012 09:10 pm
hi there - i need some help clearing my confusion and fear. i work in a surgical dentist office and at the end of a surgery, while disinfecting the instruments, i got a small cut on my hand by one of the sharp instrument, which resulted in a drop of blood coming out. before the cut happened, this instrument was pre-soaked in a cleaning solution called - "IMS Daily Clean" and also washed with clean water and this happened while i was trying to put the instruments in autoclave (sterilizing machine). I am now worried about the chances of me catching HIV & Hepatitis B/C disease(s). Can someone please advise and guide as to how much risk am I carrying and what is the best course of action for me.
Reply Sun 20 May, 2012 08:46 am
Your gonna be fine calm down!! the sterilization clears you and number 2 once those type of diseases are air born they die immediately, so if there was any HIV or what not in the room it was no longer harmful long before you got cut.
Reply Sun 20 May, 2012 09:39 am
To be on the safe side, you should take a HIV test and also for Hepatitis.
Actually, working in any health related field would require you to be vaccinated against Hep B/C and have yearly tests thereafter.
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Reply Sun 20 May, 2012 11:58 am
I'm not aware of a vaccine for Hep C, but you should certainly be vaccinated for Hep B. When was this event? It's highly unlikely that you became infected from a clean, but not yet sterilized, instrument. The tests available at most facilities test for HIV and HBV antibodies. It takes time for you body to begin to develop antibodies - up to six months in the case of HCV. There are tests available that test for the virus itself called NAT (Nucleic Acid Tests) that may be available to you through your county or state public health department. These tests can detect the presence of the virus within days (sometimes hours) of infection.

Did you report the incident to your employer? The costs of any testing should be covered by his Workman's Comp policy as a job-related event.
Reply Sun 20 May, 2012 12:28 pm
You're right, JPB, I am ahead of myself - Hep C vaccines are still in the trial
phases http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-16415225 - nonetheless, yearly
testing of Hep C is mandatory for all health workers.
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Reply Mon 21 May, 2012 02:17 am


The hospital should have a clear policy re such accidental exposure and should be able to answer your questions AND assist you in having baseline checks for the diseases you fear, as well as later testing. They should also be able to help with any precautions that should be taken.

I understand that the HIV virus is relatively fragile outside the body so you're likely ok with that....but get the workplace to assist you.

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