Detection of HIV-1 nucleic acid and HIV-1 antibodies in needles and syringes used for non-intravenous injection

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Background:HIV antibodies and HIV DNA have been detected in needles and syringes that have been used for intravenous injections in HIV-infected persons. During intravenous injection, blood is typically aspirated into the lumen of the syringe. During intramuscular or subcutaneous injection, however, blood is not usually introduced into the syringe.Objectives:To investigate the presence of HIV antibodies, HIV proviral DNA, HIV RNA, and human DNA in needles and syringes that had been used for intramuscular or subcutaneous injection in persons known to have HIV infection.Methods:Discarded disposable needles and syringes used by health-care personnel for medically indicated intramuscular or subcutaneous injections of HIV-infected patients were collected. Residual material was extracted from the syringes. The extracts were analyzed by enzyme immunoassay for the presence of HIV antibodies. PCR was conducted to detect HIV and human DNA, as well as HIV RNA.Results:HIV antibodies were detected in 16 (6.2%) out of 260 syringes. Human DNA or HIV-specific DNA were not detected. A second set of 80 syringes was collected to examine the presence of HIV RNA. HIV RNA was detected in three (3.8%) out of 80 syringes.Conclusion:This analysis demonstrates that the risk of transmitting HIV from syringes that have been used for intramuscular or subcutaneous injection may be low, but is not zero.

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