A mum fears her three-year-old daughter may have HIV after she jabbed herself in the face with a discarded syringe in a primary school playground.
Lynsey Brown’s little girl, Charlie, was walking with her mum and sister to school to collect her siblings when tragedy struck.
The toddler was picking up twigs as they walked along the path to Polkemmet Primary School in Whitburn, West Lothian on June 7.
But just as they reached the gate, Charlie picked up a needle with a lid, which she removed and jabbed into her chin.
And now the family faces an agonising wait to find out if she has HIV.
Lynsey, 32, a mum-of-six, said: “I shouted as soon as she picked it up and she jumped and it went into her chin.
“We spent six hours in A&E and she was given jabs for Hepatitis B.
“It’s an absolute nightmare. Because she’s so young HIV will take up to six months to show up in her system.
“She got a blood test that will get frozen and she has to go back every four weeks for the next 12 months to get blood taken.
“They will compare them to see if there’s any sign of HIV.”
Lynsey also claimed she has received very little information from the school since she reported the needle – and no apology.
She said West Lothian Council have sent out a cleaning team to take a look around the school grounds, but Lynsey said it is often the school pupils who clean up their playground.
She said: “They do a big clean up every so often. The kids go round picking up litter.
“Some of the things kids say they have seen is disgusting – one of my children told me they found used condoms.
“It’s a known area for drug users.”
Lynsey now fears the worst for her daughter.
She added: “Now I’ve got a three-year-old child whose life is going to be changed until we find out what she has HIV or she gets an all-clear.
“My daughter’s life has been turned upside down. We have to put on surgical gloves if she falls and bleeds.”
While they wait to hear their daughter’s fate, Lynsey and her partner Thomas Ramage, 32, want parents in the area to be made aware of the dangers of needles.
Lynsey said: “I’m being left completely in the dark about it. There’s been no sign of apology.
“There’s been no group call to parents to make them aware. Nobody has been made aware.
“I wouldn’t wish this on anybody.”
West Lothian Council has been quick to assure people that it was an isolated incident and to refute Lynsey’s claims that drug users hang around outside the school.
A spokesman said: “A small needle, as might be used by diabetics for insulin injections, was handed into Polkemmet Primary School by a parent on Tuesday afternoon, 7 June.
“The needle had a protective cap on it when it was handed in, and the school were unaware of it previously. The needle now been collected for safe disposal.
“There is no evidence of any drug use taking place in, or around, the school grounds.
“Anyone who finds a needle in West Lothian should immediately report the location to 01506 280000 so it can be safely collected and disposed of as quickly as possible.”
HIV is normally transmitted through unprotected sex but infection can spread by contaminated needles, blood and breast milk.
If Charlie tests positive, she will still be able to live a normal life, but will be have to take antiretrovirals for the rest of her life while hoping it does not develop into AIDS.
According to Public Health Medicine consultant Dr Duncan McCormick at NHS Lothian, the likelihood of Charlie having the disease is low.
He added: “On the day of the incident, all appropriate treatment was given and Charlie had bloods taken at St John’s Hospital.
“The incubation period in the body for HIV is between three and six months, so an appointment has been made for her with the consultant specialising in infectious diseases at that time and she will be tested again.”