Dirty Needle Causes Concern

One month ago, I went to a hospital in Fairfax, VA to check for HIV on a blood specimen. At that time, I also checked for other sexually transmitted diseases, and all of my tests results were negative. I am confused about one thing, that is, when the doctor took my blood using needle and a syringe. The doctor took the needle and the syringe from the package, but both, the needle and the syringe looked used (old). Therefore, I am scared that I might have gotten HIV or another virus from the needle. Should I get tested again? Or, what is my next step?

To Whom It May Concern,

I understand your concern with the needle and syringe appearance, but I do not believe any legitimate physician or HIV/STD testing provider would reuse a needle for any reason. Not only is it dangerous to your health, but to their own as well. Needles are inexpensive and easily attainable for any physician, so there is no reason that an established health care provider would reuse needles. In over 25 years in the field I have only heard of one incident involving that sort of thing; however, even then the needles were still clean… just not to hospital standards. No cases of HIV or hepatitis were reported from that incident either. If you would like further assurance you should contact the HIV testing center you used and ask them to explain the appearance of the needles. If, after talking to the testing center, you still feel worried about the situation, you should consider retesting for HIV, as that may ease your mind. I would not consider it necessary for you to do any further testing, unless you have any other sexual contacts that you are concerned about, but in many cases testing can do a wonder for your peace of mind. Nonetheless, it is necessary, if you are sexually active, to get tested about once every six months to a year, or in between sexual partners, as recommended by the CDC.