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Tonya Papanikolas reportingA boy in Riverdale is waiting to find out if he was exposed to HIV after he and his friends found an IV drug needle over the weekend. While looking at it, the boy was accidentally poked with the needle.
This has just been a nightmare for the boy and his family. He'll have to go through tests for six months before they will know if he contracted the HIV virus. Triston Hughes has the same hobbies as any 11-year-old boy, but now he's worried about things no child should ever have to think about. "The doctor said that I needed to like get a blood sample," he said.
Saturday, Triston was walking with friends on Riverdale Road when they found something on a path near the riverwalk. "There was a spoon sticking out of the side of this eyeglass case, and we opened it, and it had, like a needle," Triston says. It also had a bag filled with drugs. The kids knew what it was but wanted to look closer, so they took out the needle.
Triston says, "The cap was open on the needle when we opened it."
His mom, Danielle Hughes, said, "When Triston had it in his hand, he went to close it, and one of the other kids grabbed at it, and it jabbed him in the hand."
Triston and his friends showed the drug kit to a parent. A day later, he told his mom what happened with the needle. "Mother's Day is actually when Triston came to me and told me what had happened," Danielle said. "I just flipped. I called police immediately."
Danielle took her son to McKay Dee Hospital, where they took blood samples for Hepatitis C and HIV. Until they know the results, Triston has to take several HIV-related medications every day. Danielle explains, "It lowers the chance of contracting the HIV virus if he was exposed."
Danielle says she had talked with her son about drugs but left out details like needles until he was older. Now she believes it's never too young to warn children about the dangers of drugs and drug paraphernalia. We don't want them to be exposed to graphic things, but if we don't expose them, someone else will," she said.
Making this situation even worse, Danielle Hughes is a widow raising four children, and she doesn't have health insurance. But they're getting by as best as they can. She says she just wants to make sure this doesn't happen to anyone else.