[Question #1055] hiv and hep b/c transmissions

49 months ago
Worried about hiv & hepatitis b & c from several events:
1.)    Stain (possibly blood) on napkin used to wipe sons nose. He had a fever starting the next day for almost a week and diarrhea on and off for the next several weeks
2.)    Someone had bloody nose and blood on shirt. I  Had to take their arm and later I wiped my eye and had a black blob on finger as result
3.)    Got blood taken & nurse not wearing gloves. Worried if she touched needle
4.)    In lazy river at water park with my son. Was sitting in tube w/ son on my lap. Noticed person in tube by my foot at fresh wet blood dripping from his elbow. Worried if a part of my body bumped into him since he was right next to me or if the blood was in the water since we were also in the water and if it got on our clothes/bathing suits, skin, cuts, hair, etc. At one point, everyone gets sprayed by water jets from above everyones head, which probably got more blood into the water from the persons arm.. In addition, while in the lazy river, a photographer took our picture while she was standing in the water and put a paper bracelet on my wrist. Im assuming her hands were in the pool at some point. I did wash my hands before changing his diaper(but had to touch his bathing suit before changing diaper) and did not change either of our  clothes right away. My son did not have his hands washed and ate food. I also had to take out my contacts with my fingers. Now my son once again has diarrhea. Also 2 days later, I noticed a spot on my foot and worried it was dried blood.
Very concerned for my son and also for me, especially since I am 30 weeks pregnant. My husband says that none of these events are a concern or warrant testing
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago
Welcome to our Forum.  I'll be glad to comment.  None of the events you describe represent any meaningful risk for acquisition of HIV or hepatitis for a variety of reasons.  Casual potential contacts of the sort you describe virtually never lead to infection.  HIV and hepatitis viruses are fragile viruses which become non-infectious almost immediately upon contact with the environment outside the body and even with direct transfer of bodily fluids or blood on hands, fingers or through transfer on or through inanimate objects like clothing, there are no proven cases of transmission that I am aware of.  None of the events you describe represent risks for infection or should concern you.  Regarding your specific questions:
1 and 2.  See above
3.  Medical personnel drawing blood wear gloves to protect themselves from patients, not the other way around.  They do not re-use materials so there is no risk of transfer in the needles or material used to draw your blood.  This was no risk for hepatitis or HIV.
4,  water in commercial water parks is chlorinated and kills bacteria and viruses on contact.  This and the reasons I mentioned above make these no risk events.

I applaud and understand your concerns for yourself, your unborn child, and your son but I also agree with your husband that non of the events you describe represent risks for HIV or hepatitis.  There is no need for testing related to the events you describe.  I hope these comments and information are helpful. EWH
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49 months ago
Thank you for your detailed, respectful response. As you may have guessed, I do have OCD .I  am working w/ a therapist to try to alleviate my concerns regarding blood-borne diseases. I understand that it is very difficult to get hiv and hep b/c but am having trouble moving past it, as this seems to have manifested itself after my son was born.
I do have a follow-up question about another recent event:  I went to the dentist for a cleaning. The hygienist put on gloves and set out the tools. I thought I saw something on the gloves (blood?) before she began working on me but before I could get a good look she took them off and put on a new pair. If they did for some reason have blood on them and she touched the tools or the gauze used to work on me and blood got on them is that a risk? My gums then bled a lot during the cleaning. Also, after the cleaning, I noticed possible blood stains on her jacket and I don’t know when they got there or if they were already there.

I am trying to tell myself that even if the above event occurred it would not be a risk but am having difficulty. My husband says that there would not have been enough blood anyway. I do know that besides sexual transmission and needle stick injuries, there is really no risk of blood borne illnesses. Yet, because dental instruments were involved and my gums were bleeding I am concerned about this.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago
I'm sorry for your continued concerns.  There is no known risk related to the scenario you describe around dental cleaning and work.  Dentists are highly trained, few dental patients have HIV, and there have been NO reports of HIV transmission in the context of dental work and exposures for over 15 years (the only event I am aware of was the case of a Florida dentist who intentionally infected several patients).  As you acknowledge that you have OCD, I will express my hope that you are working with a therapist to address your concerns and would suggest that you speak with him/her about these unwarranted concerns.  EWH
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