hiv exposure?

Nurses General Nursing


I recently was taking care of a patient not knowing he was HIV positive. I gave him IV meds through an IV heplock without gloves? Should I be worried or tested?

I don't know how to answer this without sounding mean. If you are giving meds through a heplocked IV you must be a nurse and you don't know the answer to your question?

If you had opened areas or stuck yourself with a needle, then yes. If there was no actual contact with the patient's body fluids, there is no need to worry. Obviously, you learned a valuable lesson the day this happened. Remember to treat all your patients as if they are infected, and protect yourself! :nurse:

Specializes in Hospice.

OP, please take yourself to the CDC website for authoritative info on HIV transmission.


Just, wow.

Specializes in ED Nursing, Critical Care Nursing.

This is one of those "DOH!" moments. Your risk is probably small. Basically, you would have to have an open wound on your hands and the client's blood would have to have contacted that wound and entered your bloodstream. That said, I'm sure you are aware of the rules about PPE IVP meds is included since the client's blood can be on the saline lock tubing and/or clave connector from the original venipuncture. In short, you can't be sure that the lock is uncontaminated with the patient's blood, so gloves are in order. Chalk it up to a lesson learned. You might pose this question to your facility infection control nurse (true, might result in a write-up or some other disciplinary action, but oh I said, treat it as one of those "ano-cranial inversion" moments that every one of us has had in our careers at one time or another). We've all done something that we could kick ourselves for after the fact. Learn from it and move forward. Best of luck. I'm sure you are fine.

Specializes in Hospice.

I don't have any way of knowing how old N2NRSNG is, but the other poster revealed an age of 23 ... way too young to remember the panic years of the 80's and 90's. Having worked in the field during those years, I remember them all too well and, trust me, his comment was pure idiocy.

As for the OP, while I disagree with name-calling, I do agree that someone who is supposedly legally enabled to give iv push meds and has no clue about blood borne infections is concerning, which is why I referred her/him to the CDC. If you don't know, know where to look it up.

Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

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