[Question #2198] Sorry! A clarification please

47 months ago

Dr. Hook,

Thank you for your responses. You set my mind SO MUCH at ease. I did have one nagging question remain based on your reply on mutual masturbation.

I pointed out I saw some stains on my sheets, both white and dark [the dark stains may have been blood]. I worried these may be stains from secretions from the HIV+ man and potentially HIV+ man who were at my house this past weekend. I stated that I masturbate when I can’t spend time with my girlfriend and that my masturbation includes both rubbing my penis and inserting my fingers into my anus. You stated that any risk I may have been at via masturbation in my stained sheets would have been as low if not lower than mutual masturbation. I replied that I was concerned that blood may have been a higher risk. You told me blood has about the same levels of HIV virus as semen or vaginal fluids and so blood would be a similar risk level. Since mutual masturbation is zero risk, semen and/or blood on my sheets would also be zero risk even if I were to get it on my hands and then on my penis or into the hole of my penis, or onto my hands and then into my anus when I insert my fingers into my anus or into my mouth, eyes, nose, or any other route.

What I’m looking for clarification on is if mutual masturbation includes the possibility of getting semen into my penis hole or my anus or any other route [eyes, mouth, nose]. When you say that mutual masturbation is zero risk, do you mean that it is zero risk even though semen probably frequently gets into someone’s penis hole or anus during mutual masturbation? Does mutual masturbation include anal fingering, in which HIV+ genital secretions may get into someone’s anus [someone who does not have HIV]? And, as I mentioned before, can you confidently assure me that even though mutual masturbation usually involves semen and/or vaginal secretions and not blood, that my risk, if the dark stains were blood stains on my bed, is negligible?

Finally, I do not recall these stains being wet, but if they were, is this still no risk for me?

I’m sorry I am having these nagging questions. As I previously mentioned, I am not used to being around HIV+ individuals and so I’ve been feeling very on edge. Thanks.

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
47 months ago
I'm sorry you are continuing to worry about the no risk situation you have described. When persons engage in mutual masturbation genital secretions are often transferred far and wide and persons often then go on to rub their eyes, touch their own genitals or rectum, etc.  Despite that there are no instances in which HIV has been proven to be spread through mutual masturbation or secretions transferred on a persons fingers to their own or other persons.  thus even if the stains you describe were wet (doubtful!) and were due to blood or genital secretions from a person with HIV, there would be no risk of infection to you.  You need to relax and put this situation behind you.  I hope that with this answer you will be able to do so.  EWH

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47 months ago
Dr. Hook
Let me start by pointing out that this situation has really thrown me for a loop and a friend told me he thought i was experiencing anxiety and that I should see a psychologist. I've scheduled an appointment. In the meantime, I'm quite nervous and I feel like this might be the anxiety but I wanted your feedback

I had a medical exam today which included some blood work. My exam is at an Allina clinic I've been going to for about half a year. During the blood work, the woman drawing my blood dropped something onto the floor next to the chair I was sitting in to have my blood drawn. I'm not sure if it was the label for my blood draw tubes, the tubes themselves, the blood draw needle, or what.  I think she dropped whatever she dropped after she'd already taken blood but I can't remember. My concern is what if there was blood on the floor which either got on the blood draw needle before she inserted it into my arm, or got blood on her hands which then got onto the puncture site of my blood draw as she was applying a bandage to it.

Part of my mind is telling me this is my anxiety and my mind racing. I'm thinking it would be unlikely there was blood on the ground, that even if there was it was unlikely HIV blood, and even if it was, it would likely be non-infectious because of exposure to air and the environment.  It's also unlikely she would have dropped a needle and used it after dropping it and my memory is probably right that she dropped whatever she dropped after drawing my blood.

I'm scared to pull off the bandage on my and deterred because I'm worried I'll see blood on the bandage which will cause me more fear. It's typical for there to be a little of my own blood on a cotton swab after a blood draw, right? Finally, at the water fountain at the clinic I saw some liquid, some dried, some pooling in the center. I believe it was coffee but I am worried if it it was blood it got on me, especially on a bleeding hangnail I had. Is this a concern?

47 months ago
And Dr. Hook,

One more question: I'm scheduled to get a massage today [recommended by a friend to soothe my anxiety] but now I'm worried I may be at risk from massage because I have small cuts on my body and asome pimples on my arms and shoulders which sometimes pop and bleed//pus. I would love to get my massage to relax but want to make sure this is no risk even with cuts on my hands and legs and pimples. Please advise. Thanks
47 months ago
I'm sorry to bother Doctor. As you can tell I'm very anxious now. I see my Psychologist tomorrow. That said, today at work I had contact with a man who told me he gave himself coffee enemas and I was freaked out perhaps I got his anal secretions on me. Is this a risk? I didnt see obvious secretions, I feel foolish but also very scared. Thanks for all your advice and assistance. I read that the thread will close after my follow up questions. I understand. Thanks for your help.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
47 months ago
I agree with your friend.  Your experiences related to knowing that you had persons with HIV in your home setting appear to have set off a cascade of anxieties which are feeding on themselves and causing you to worry unnecessarily about HIV.  Talking with a therapist about this is just the right thing to do.  I'm glad you are doing this.

Worrying about the events surrounding having your blood draw is not a well justified concern.  The missteps you describe occurred AFTERyour blood was drawn and do not represent a risk to you, no matter what fell on the floor.  Phlebotomist so are extensively trained to avoid contaminating their patients and there are no instances in which HIV has been transmitted titled in this way.  Further, I would expect there to be a spot of blood on your band aid whe. It is removed and urge you not to let this concern you.

Similarly, infections are not transmitted in the course of massage and the presence of small cuts, sores or scrapes should not worry you.  I encourage you to go for the massage.  This is a no risk event.

Similarly, there is no scientific rationale for you to worry about casual, non-sexual interactions with your co-worker.  This is simply a concern that is not justified, either by our scientist knowledge or by observation of millions of people over time.

I hope my comments will help you to deal with your unwarranted anxiety.  EWH
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47 months ago
Thanks Dr. Hook.

I previously wrote: "My concern is what if there was blood on the floor which either got on the blood draw needle before she inserted it into my arm, or got blood on her hands which then got onto the puncture site of my blood draw as she was applying a bandage to it."

You mentioned whatever was dropped on the floor almost certainly occured after and I believe this is what I remember. However, IF it had been dropped on the floor before, do you suspect that this would still be no risk and not a reason to test?

Thanks and I understand my thread will be closed. I look forward to seeing my psychologist.
47 months ago
And also, one last thing, you're fairly confident a blood draw worker would never drop a needle than use it? This woman was 50+ and likely had a lot of experience blood drawing.
47 months ago
Oh sorry, one more clarification:

I wrote: "You mentioned whatever was dropped on the floor almost certainly occured after and I believe this is what I remember. However, IF it had been dropped on the floor before, do you suspect that this would still be no risk and not a reason to test?"

What I meant was "You mentioned whatever was dropped on the floor almost certainly occured after MY BLOOD HAD BEEN DRAWN and I believe this is what I remember. However, IF it had been dropped on the floor before, do you suspect that this would still be no risk and not a reason to test?"

Thanks much
47 months ago
And just to be clear: you don't recommend testing for anything Ive mentioned to you. Thanks again so much
47 months ago
I'm sorry Doc, I think your right that my mind really is racing. It's very strange and I don't know what happening.

My biggest concern is like a mentioned before and i was hoping you could provide validation to my suspicions that EVEN IF when my worker picked up whatever fell on the floor, it is very unlikely there was blood on the floor, unlikely it would be HIV blood, and even if it was, it would likely be non-infectious because of exposure to air and room, all culminating in a no risk event that does not warrant testing, concern, or abstaining from sex with my girlfriend.

This is my last question. Thanks.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
47 months ago
My comments are being provided out of concern for you and your mental health.  FIVE posts I less than an hour.  You need to get hold of yourself.  Seeing a mental health professional is a good first step.  I suggest you print out your last two threads on our site and share them with the psychologist you will be seeing.  

Lab techs and phlebotomist so undergo extensive training and it is difficult to conceive of a phlebotomist using a needle that had fallen on the floor.  You acknowledge that this is unlikely.  I agree.  At the risk of tacitly and unintentionally feeding your anxieties. Even if the technician picked a needle off of the lab floor and then used it on you, I would not consider this a risk for HIV and I would not feel a need to recommend testing because of the risk.

This will be my final reply to this thread but I will not close it as I hope you will post what a brief summary of what your psychologist advises for you.  This might be helpful to others who visit our site.

With that, I will close this thread.  There will be no further replies.  I wish you the best.  EWH
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