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Medical student exposure

Hello. I've read through several of these posts and haven't been able to find one that really relates to my own situation. Long story short, I'm in my 2nd year of medical school and was observing a nurse inserting an IV on a severely dehydrated patient of unknown HIV status. The man was older and was slightly disoriented and yanked out the IV, stabbing himself accidentally with the needle. Upon initial reaction, I grabbed the patient's hand to keep him from accidentally stabbing himself again, or the nurse or myself. When I did this, a small amount of his blood got on my hand. I made sure the needle was capped and then went into the bathroom and washed my hands with soap and water, probably less than a minute after this occurred. I don't think I had any cuts on my hands, but this was a few weeks ago now and I can't quite remember and if I had any cuts they would have healed by now.

I explained what happened to the infectious diseases nurse, and she did not opt to have the patient tested because she said since I was not stuck with a needle or other sharp object, the incident could not qualify as an "exposure." I also was not offered PEP. I cannot rid myself of this worry that perhaps this patient had HIV and I somehow contracted it by this incident. In anyone's opinion, especially Teak, Lizzie Lou, Vance, Kumar... should I be tested at the 3 month mark? I am extremely nervous and have lost quite a bit of sleep over this. Thanks for your opinions.
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Avatar universal
HIV is not transmitted through surface contamination of skin. Read Dr. Hook's reply in the thread below for a more detailed answer.

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thank you so much joggen. i'm still just a little concerned given i can't remember if i had any cuts and if i did they would have provided a means of a way for HIV to get into my system.
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Avatar universal
That's a common mistaken belief about HIV transmission. Cuts heal themselves off from the inside through the clotting process, preventing entry of viruses to the circulation. There might be a theoretical risk with a fresh, bleeding cut requiring stitches and exposure to large quantities of fresh, HIV positive blood but your sitation obviously does not fit that scenario.

Your concern has been discussed innumerable times on both forums. I suggest that you take another crack at finding similar threads if you need more information.
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