[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
November 21, 1990

Determination of HIV-1 Status of Discarded Sharps: Polymerase Chain Reaction Using Minute Quantities of Blood

JAMA. 1990;264(19):2501. doi:10.1001/jama.1990.03450190031012

To the Editor.—  As the number of individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) grows, the potential for accidental needle-stick injuries with contaminated blood increases. Strict adherence to infectioncontrol guidelines may limit this hazard. However, needle-stick injuries by discarded sharps present a special problem if the patient source of the needle is unknown.

Report of a Case.—  A nurse in an outpatient medical office had an accidental needle-stick exposure with a discarded angiocatheter. Many catheterization procedures had been performed, and the patient source was unknown. On the day of the accident, the angiocatheter was submitted to our laboratory and approximately 60 μL of serum was aspirated from the clotted blood in the hub of the needle. The sample was reactive to HIV-1 by Western immunoblot.1 The needle was flushed with 300 μL of phosphate-buffered saline, and the eluant was processed for DNA extraction and polymerase