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Accidental Needle Sticks

Table of Contents


Topic Overview

Many people worry about getting a disease like hepatitis or HIV from an accidental needle stick. But it doesn't happen often. Most of the time, the person on whom the needle was used doesn't have hepatitis, HIV, or another infection that can be spread that way.

When the person does have an infection that can be spread, your risk level if you are accidentally stuck by the needle depends on:

How to protect yourself

If you must handle used needles, know the right way to dispose of them. And make sure to wear protective gloves.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following steps if you have any exposure to blood:

Call your doctor right away. In some cases, medicine may help to prevent infection. The sooner you start treatment, the more likely it is to work.

Tips for health care workers

If you work in health care, take steps to protect yourself:

If you get an accidental needle stick:

For more information about job-related exposure to HIV, contact:


Credits for Accidental Needle Sticks

Current as of: July 1, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
William H. Blahd Jr. MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
H. Michael O'Connor MD - Emergency Medicine
Martin J. Gabica MD - Family Medicine


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