I touched a used needle. Is there any chance of me getting HIV infection?

Q. I touched a used needle. Is there any chance of me getting HIV infection?

Answered by
Dr. Sushil Kakkar
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Mar 07, 2018 and last reviewed on: Nov 04, 2022

Hello doctor,

I work for a company where there is one person who is a diabetic. He uses regular insulin injections. Well, I was not paying attention when I picked up the trash can because it fell over, and I touched a used needle. I know I did not get pricked because it did not pierce my skin. I also applied pressure to where it touched, and no blood came out. Two days after it happened, I got sick. I have a cold, and I am scared that this is related to the incident. I want to make sure that there is no chance of any viruses (like HIV) in my body. I just need reassurance.



Welcome to icliniq.com.

The risk of infection from needlestick injuries depends on:

  • The factors that influence exposure to a greater volume of blood (for example: visible blood on the device, needle which has been placed directly into an artery or a vein of an HIV positive person).
  • Viral load of the source patient.
  • Deeper injuries and by hollow-bore needles (especially those needles with larger gauges).

Diabetics use fine gauge needle and that too for injecting insulin into the skin rather than into a blood vessel.

Moreover, the needlestick injury you have mentioned here actually did not prick deep enough, you just touched the needle and I think your chances are minimal if at all.Are you unsure about the HIV status of the patient? If you are sure that the used needle belongs to him and no one else, and if you know the person very well, you may straight away go and tell him/her about the incident and your reason to be anxious and inquire about the person's HIV status. That would be the easiest way.

You may get a HIV combo test (antigen and antibody based test) done after 1 month of exposure, for your own peace of mind.

Was this answer helpful?


Same symptoms doesn’t mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Related Questions:
HIV1 RNA test is negative. Can it be concluded that I do not have HIV?

.. need to go for fourth generation ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). For more information consult a HIV AIDS specialist online --> .. ...   Read full

What is the frequency to do HIV testing while taking PEP?

.. to your queries are: For PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) efficacy, adherence to the medications prescribed for PEP is the most important thing. PEP is really efficacious, To the best of my clinical practice, I have not seen any case of a patient who ha   Read full

Is my friend's husband suffering from advanced stage of AIDS?

.. tuberculosis, that is TB other than of the lungs is usually an indicator of poor immunity and can be seen in advanced stages of HIV. However, CD4 count also plays a very vital role in determining if the patient has a chance to recover from such in   Read full

Also Read Answers From:

ideaComprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Also Read

PCOS and Liver Problems
The hormonal imbalances in polycystic ovary syndrome could cause liver diseases. Read the article to know the relationship between these medical conditions.  Read more»
Inferior Alveolar Nerve Lateralization Technique
The inferior alveolar nerve lateralization technique is a surgical lateralization technique to reposition the nerve. Read the article to know more about this.  Read more»
COVID-19 and Ebola: Similarities and Differences
This article gives a comparison and broader overview of the outbreak of the two deadliest diseases that showed a greater incidence over the last two decades.  Read more»

Ask your health query to a doctor online?

Ask a HIV AIDS Specialist Now

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: No content published on this website is intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website. Read our Editorial Process to know how we create content for health articles and queries.