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Consulting a doctor about possible HIV infection

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I recently had an occupational exposure to HIV. I am a dental hygienist,I was working on a patient that was known to be hiv positive. I was working with a machine that sprays lots of water and received a splash in the eye. I know that there was some blood present in other areas of the mouth, but don't know if there was any in the splash that I received. From what I know this is a low risk event. I got tested few weeks after, with a negative result. Then just recently got tested for 3 month window, and that result as well was negative. Is there any reason to continue being full of anxiety ?? Or should I just move on and consider the 3 month test conclusive !!?? Please please help me ... this anxiety is taking over my life !!


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replied March 8th, 2010
HIV and AIDS Answer A10509
Hi and welcome to the forum! I am glad that I can help you.

You would like to know whether after the event that you described and a negative HIV test for a three month window, you are still at risk of HIV infection.

HIV is human immune deficiency virus and is transmitted by the transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluid, pre-ejaculate, or breast milk. So the four major routes of transmission are unsafe sex, contaminated needles, breast milk, and transmission from an infected mother to her baby at birth (vertical transmission). During dental procedures blood often appears, so it may be a source for a HIV infection. The human body usually produces antibodies against HIV within two to twelve weeks.

Given the data that you described, it is not likely that you are still at risk of HIV infection. To be completely sure you may consider having another HIV test (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Western blot or an immunofluorescence assay (IFA)) after six months after the suspicious event. You may also consider wearing protective glasses and gloves while working to avoid any other suspicious event. With these precautions you will protect yourself not only from HIV, but from any other bacterial and viral infections (conjunctivitis and herpes on fingers).

Please keep in mind that I provide medical information only. I am not able to diagnose medical conditions online. Please contact your doctor for further advice and information about diagnosis of possible HIV infection.


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