[Question #1092] Valid Concern?

49 months ago
Hello Doctors,
 I would like to ask a question that I realize is probably irrational, but none the less can't get off my mind.
 
Two years ago I was on my way home when a man looked directly at me and spat at me for no reason. Needless to say I was shocked and furious. I realize saliva isn't infectious, even if it had blood in it, but that doesn't stop me from worrying. My fear is that it wasn't spit, but phlegm containing blood, or even something else potentially infectious. I can't say for sure that it happened, but my main concern is that it could have gotten it in my mouth, I also realize ingestion of the virus isn't a risk, but I worry about possible wounds in my mouth, plus I have two broken teeth that are broken down to the gums and bleeds a bit.

 I've read several of your posts on here and over at Medhelp and realize this is probably not a risk, but I can't get it off my mind. I was never fearful of Hiv before and I don't know if I'm just traumatized by the event and that's why I can't get over it, or I had a real risk and need testing? 

 Thank You 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago

 Welcome to our forum and thanks for your question.  I can understand how being spat upon for no good reason would be a memorable and worrisome event.  Having said that, I am also quite comfortable with assuring you that this sort of event would not put you at any risk for HIV or any other STI. the reasons for this are largely the ones you have already mentioned: Most people do not have HIV or other STIs, these organisms quickly become non-infectious on exposure to the environment,. and even if he did, there are just no instances in which saliva (with or without blood present) or sputum (phlegm) have transmitted HIV, hepatitis or other STIs or blood borne diseases.  Such an exposure might put you at risk for other problems such a pulmonary infections (which you also didn't get since you would have developed respiratory symptoms), but not HIV or other STI.

There is no medical reason for concern or for testing.  Should you choose to test for HIV for the reassurance that a negative test might give you, I am confident that the result of testing would be negative.

I hope my comments are helpful.  EWH

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49 months ago
Thank You Doctor for you reply it's very reassuring, but at the risk of beating a dead horse, I would just like to ask if would still considered this no risk even in the unlikely scenario that his sputum had blood in it, or if the wounds or broken teeth in my mouth make any difference in the risk? I know this sounds irrational and annoying, but like I mentioned this event has shaken me up pretty good, and I'd just like to have all my bases covered 

Thank you again
 
49 months ago
Also Doctor I'd like to elaborate on the broken teeth. I have 
49 months ago
Sorry I hit submit by accident. Fat fingers small phone. 
Like I was saying I have two broken teeth that have broken to the gums and have small holes where the tooth used to be. I just wanted to paint a clearer picture of the wounds in my mouth 

Thank You
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago

Even with broken teeth or gum disease on your part, or blood in the spit from the person who spat upon you, there would be no risk whatsoever.  Still nothing to worry about from  a medical or scientific perspective.

Your question, the fact that this has troubled you for two years, and your follow-up question all suggest that this is prominently on your mind, as such, I wonder if you should test in order to put your fears aside.  I would only recommend this if you felt that you would be able to accept the results and, when they are negative, move on without further concern.  EWH

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49 months ago
Thank You Doctor 
 You're right it has been on my mind for two years. Some days I convince myself that I'm being ridiculous, other days, like today I can't get it off my mind. You're the expert, so when you say that blood in phlegm or spit, or broken teeth or wounds don't make a difference, I believe you and I'll try my best to forget about it
 
Thank you 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
49 months ago
Great, I hope you will be able to move forward.  Take care.  EWH
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