Patient observed sterile treatment for blood tests
|POST for blood tests: Depending on how much blood is needed for a test, a provider may use a needle and syringe or vacutainer (see below) to take several cubic centimetres of blood from a vein, or use a lancet to take several drops of blood from a finger.
|1. Avoid skin-piercing procedures
||(a) Avoid unnecessary tests. Ask your doctor the purpose of each test that he or she recommends.(b) Keep your test results and records safe, so that you can avoid repeat tests when going for further treatment. (c) If a provider wants to take blood from a vein, ask if the test can be done with several drops of blood from a finger.
|2. Use new disposable instruments
||Ensure that all blood samples are taken with new syringes (or vacutainers) and needles or with new lancets taken from a sealed package in front of you. You may buy and bring these yourself, or the doctor may have his own supply in sealed packages.
|3. You sterilize the instruments
||If you know or suspect that a lancet has not been sterilized after previous use, you may sterilize it by holding it in a flame for several seconds until the metal becomes red hot, and then air cooling it before use.
|4. Ask providers how they sterilize instruments
||Not applicable. Syringes, vacutainers, needles, and lancets are all so cheap that you should insist on new disposables for every test.
Additional information about blood tests
Collecting blood from a vein: Some tests, such as for syphilis,require several cubic centimeters of blood, which is collected from a vein. For adults, blood from a vein – venous blood – is usually taken from the arm.
Drawing blood for test
Venous blood is often collected with a syringe and needle. Venous blood may also be collected with a vacutainer – a small glass vial with a rubber cover, and with the air sucked out to create a vacuum – and a special needle with points at both ends; one end of the needle is put into the vein, and the other end punctures the rubber cover of the vacutainer.
Collecting blood from a finger or toe: For some tests, such as for malaria parasites, several drops of blood may be collected from a finger prick (or toe prick for babies) using a lancet.
Testing blood with lancet
Risks to get HIV from a blood test
If a provider reuses a syringe and needle from an HIV-positive patient without any effort to clean to draw blood from your vein, your risk to get HIV may be estimated at 3%-10% (this is similar to the risk from an intravenous injection; see Table on Estimated Risks in Blood-borne risk section). If a provider reuses a lancet from an HIV-positive patient, without any effort to clean, to take blood from your finger, your estimated risk to get HIV is less than 1%. Although a finger-prick jab goes as deep as a deep needlestick accident, the lancet does not have a hollow core like a needle, so the risk is less than from an injection. If the provider uses a new syringe and needle, vacutainer, or lancet to take your blood, you have no risk to get HIV from the procedure.
Evidence that blood tests have infected people with HIV
From national surveys in 10 African countries, among women who gave birth in the 5 years before the survey, women given blood tests during antenatal care were 1.23 times more likely to have HIV infections than women who were not given such blood tests (see Table in the Antenatal care section).