[Question #1498] Are my HIV fears valid ?!?

45 months ago
Dear kind doctors , 
Back in June I was tested positive for HSV2. Ever since then I have been a real wreck in fear of any other sexual diseases. I live every day contributing every headache pain or body sensation to HIV.   I have become so anxious beyond belief around sexual  diseases.  Been tested for HIV so many times since June , all negative. Spent a lot of money on home rapid tests and lab tests. 


Recently like a couple nights ago I was out with friends at a bar and we were all talking, one of our friends was speaking close to my face and because it was loud, he was talking in a loud voice I felt spit in my eyes... this friend is a nice guy known in our circle to be very promiscuous .. I don't know his HIV /std status. ..

Ever  since then I have been a mess thinking that I have HIV now because of spit / droplets in my eye. My eyes have been burning and dry.. I want to ask my friend his hiv status but I feel like I'm crazy and will insult him and myself. 

Please let me know if my fears are valid? ! 
Thank you 




H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
45 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. I reviewed you recent discussion with Dr. Hook and am sorry to see you remain somewhat irrationally concerned about HIV/STD risks from obviously zero risk events.

Your fears definitely are not valid. HIV is never transmitted by contacts like this, only by sex or overt blood exposure like needle sharing. Nobody ever is known to have been infcted with HIV by spit in the eye. Saliva is not infectious for HIV, or only minimally so.

You may be concerned because HSV2 increases risk of HIV if exposed. However, that applies only to sexual exposure, i.e. your genital area would have to be sexually exposed. Even then, the effect usually is minor in any particular person. Longstanding HSV2 roughly doubles the risk of HIV if sexually exposed. That means that even a high risk exposure, which might carry a chance of HIV transmission of one in 2,000 (if your partner were infected) would rise but still would be only one chance in a thousand. In any case, there is absolutely no elevated risk on account of spit in the face.

Beyond that, we can't help. Irrational anxieties are generally not helped by hearing about how low risk various exposures are, no matter how expert the advice or how often. I'm betting you'll never get over this until and unless you seek professional counseling about it. I suggest it from compassion, not criticism. In any case, we're not going to be able to help further in event of additional exposures, symptoms, etc.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD
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45 months ago
Hi dr. Thank you. What does minimally infectious mean as u say saliva is such.?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
45 months ago
Saliva kills HIV, and the mouth is almost never a source of HIV transmission:  no risk by kissing or oral to genital sex, for example.

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45 months ago
Thank you doctor.  This is my final question. I feel assured but curious if prozone for rpr syphillis test has anything to do with herpes or any other antibodies .. I know that hiv antibodies can give false negative rpr.  
I just retested again rpr was negative. Is it a false negative because of my herpes antibodies  ?  

I Asked doctor to do fta abs test , will it be negative too ?? 


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
45 months ago
I don't know where you heard that HIV antibodies cause false negative RPR tests. I've never heard of that and am confident it doesn't happen. And herpes antibodies certainly do not cause prozone or false negative RPR results. Finally, prozone is a non-problem anyway; it's easily preventable by minor tweaks in the RPR test procedure, and almost all labs do it automatically. It would be a mistake to also do an FTA-ABS in presence of a negative RPR. That test does give occasional false positives, and it should never be done except to confirm a positive RPR or similar test. I suggest you cancel that request. (Also, FTA-ABS is rarely done anyway; most labs don't even offer it anymore.)

You are seriously overthinking all this. The simple, logical, and scientific explanations are valid:  all these "what if" or "is it possible" machinations are useless wastes of time and energy. You don't syphilis or HIV. Believe it and move on.

Also note that repeated anxiety driven qeustions are not permitted. Don't ask about this exposure, testing, etc again. If you do, the question will be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee -- So don't be tempted! 
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