Children Pricked With Needle Given Anti-HIV Drugs


Man, this is so screwed up. Is this what kids have to worry about? Do you have any idea how painful those HIV morning-after drugs are?

Authorities: Risk Of Getting HIV Is Low
UPDATED: 7:55 am EDT May 1, 2005

PHILADELPHIA — Nineteen children who were pricked with a needle by a third-grader at an elementary school in Philadelphia are being given strong drugs to fight HIV.

A girl at Bayard Taylor Elementary School brought her mother’s diabetes testing needle to school on Wednesday and stuck 19 children. One tested positive for HIV, but authorities said the odds of others getting HIV from the needle are extremely low.

The drugs don’t cure HIV or prevent its transmission, but rather reduce the amount of virus in the blood or slow the progress of the disease.

“So it may be in there, but it never gets a chance to set up cells in your body,” said Roger J. Pomerantz, who directs the infectious-disease division at Jefferson Medical College.

Side effects of the medicines, known as “antiretroviral drugs.” include headaches, aching muscles, fatigue, nausea and, in some cases, diarrhea.

The School District of Philadelphia is paying for the children’s medical care, spokeswoman Cecilia Cummings said.

Neil O. Fishman, director of hospital epidemiology and infection control for the University of Pennsylvania Health System, said the infection risk with a hollow needle such as a hypodermic is very low, happening less than once in every 200 cases. And he said because this needle was not hollow, the chances of infection are even lower.

“Transmission of HIV with a solid needle is very, very rare and extremely unlikely,” Fishman said.


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