Everyone is concerned about getting a contagious disease,
hepatitis C, or
human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), from a used
needle. Most people are not considered at high risk for these infections, even
if they accidentally come into contact with infected blood or body
Transmission of HIV from an accidental contact is extremely rare. The degree of risk depends on:
How much infected blood you are exposed
The amount of the virus present in the blood. People who have
symptoms or those who are very sick with the disease tend to have greater
amounts of the virus in their blood.
Protect yourself from accidental exposure by disposing of
sharp objects properly and wearing protective gloves. The hepatitis B vaccine
is safe and effective in preventing hepatitis B, so be sure to have current
The U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps if you have
any exposure to blood:
Wash needle sticks and cuts with soap and
Use water to flush splashed blood from your nose, mouth, or
Wash your eyes with a steady stream of clean water, saltwater
solution (saline), or a sterile irrigant.
Do not squeeze a puncture
wound or cut, and do not wash the affected area with antiseptics or
Call your doctor right away. In some cases, medicine to prevent infection may be
recommended and should be started right away.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.