In today’s world of HIV and AIDS, one of the biggest health-worker’s nightmare is a needle -stick injury.
This means that you are pricked by the same needle that had already gone into a patient’s body.
Similar to this is splash injury in which the blood or body fluids of a patient splashes into places like eyes mouth or your open wounds.
You go into panic mode. You frantically want to know your patient’s HIV status – this generally does not require the patient’s consent.
If the rapid test is negative, you exhale a bit, then you remember that there could be a false negative, and there’s also the concept of a “window period”.
You send the patient’s blood to the laboratory to confirm.
If your patient is known already with HIV, or any of the bloods come oyt positive for HIV, your mind goes from panic into frank convulsions!
At any rate, you see yourself, unexpectedly saddled with the stress of taking antiretroviral drugs, under the fancy title of “post-exposure prophylaxis”, or simply “pep”.
For the next one month of your life. Such horror!
If the blood result comes out clean, and you and the patient are negative for HIV, you are relieved, a bit, you stop the PEP and try to get back to your life again.
Whether you complete PEP or not, the next six months are dedicated to regularly checking your status, just tobe sure some stubborn viruses did not manage to stick in!
Needle-stick injury . Splash injury. PEP. Oh, the horror!