Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My HIV Scare

I haven't posted for a while. I am sorry. In the midst of the usual work-study-school cycle that I have endured for the past 2 years, I have also been dealing with something else.

So, this will be a break from the usual political or health-themed articles I have been writing. Basically, I am scared, and I haven't told many people even in real life.

But this is my relatively anonymous blog, where only a few people really know who I am. In my own way, this is my therapy.

Without being too specific, within the past 2 weeks I accidentally stuck myself with a used needle while doing my nursing duties.

The needle had caused the patient to bleed. I am not sure if or how much blood was on it.
The needle was relatively large and hollow-bored.
While fumbling with the so-called "safety" mechanism on the needle, the syringe slipped from my hand and while trying to catch it, my thumb penetrated the used needle. I should have just let it drop to the floor, I suppose.
Within seconds I was also bleeding from inside my glove.

The source was an HIV-positive person.

I suppose everyone at some point in their lives has a moment like this. An accident. A diagnosis. The death of someone close. One single moment that you soon realize will determine the course of the rest of your life.

I can only describe the way I felt when it happened as a wave of nausea accompanied by visions of everything that led up to this moment, everything I had worked for, and everything that one little mistake might mean for the rest of my life.

Realistically, the chances of health-care professionals' seroconversion when exposed to HIV are around 0.3%, per the CDC. I know the odds are in my favor. But the chances are never zero. And just knowing that I was definitely exposed in a real way to something is not good for my hypochondriac soul.

Within a couple seconds I was hovered over the sink, washing my thumb with hot water and soap (also squeezing it like a snakebite, as if that would actually help), while calmly letting the patient know what had happened.

I am also in the midst of completing a rather hellish course of PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis), which for me is 4 different HIV medications...which can have both annoying and serious side effects themselves. The purpose of the PEP therapy, based on what is known about the pathogenesis of the HIV virus, is to prevent systemic infection by introducing anti-retrovirals within the 24-72 hour period it takes for the virus to infect regional lymph nodes at the site of innoculation. Basically, the medications I am taking, we hope, would prevent any replication of any theoretial virus or virus-containing cells that may have entered my body. Of course, studies in humans for this are rather limited for obvious reasons (ie-thousands of health-care workers who were exposed would have to enroll in an efficacy trial), but the limited animal and human studies that have been analyzed have shown an 81% reduction in HIV seroconversion following a 4-week course of PEP.

I'm trying to keep a good outlook on things.

I will be re-tested in a couple weeks. I may or may not ever write another post about this again.

Just thought I would share my story.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Christians for Equality

I just found the following wonderful new blog, called Christians for Equality.

It looks like the author is attempting to counter the widespread tendency of anti-gay folks to mis-represent themselves as "victims." Well, and not only that, she is showing that (obviously) Christians can be for gay rights and equality. I am sure we all knew that, but it seems like the squeaky wheels of the Christians always get the most grease. This looks like it could be a refreshing new blog.

Her post today, for example, is a youtube clip featuring "Christian-bashing" vs. (the very real) gay-bashing.
Please check it out.

Monday, February 2, 2009


Sorry for the long delay and for not checking in. The school year picked up again after the New Year, and I've been busier than ever. These last 5 months are the home stretch and I won't get much time to write until then. I'll stop by every now and again, and I'll still be reading other blogs.
I just have to devote more of my energy to school right now, instead of writing for fun.
I'll be around...

Until then, enjoy.