[Question #2211] Is This Safe?

44 months ago
Thank you for your help on  this, I have asked you a question once before. I am a 40+ year old man and visited a massage parlor which I have not done in months. I received a fully clothed massage (pants, shirt and socks), she was dressed during the massage and her body was not on me at any time at all.  After the massage she stripped down and I watched from a couple of feet away her touch herself for a few moments. The entire time I was fully dressed and did not touch myself, only my hands, neck and face were exposed. I do not believe she touched my hand after but if she did, is there any risk of any stds (hiv, syphilis herpes etc) from being touched by vaginal fluid from hand to hand. I had no cuts. I used an antibacterial gel on my hands when I left and drove home. 

I believe that being there was no penetration, no direct contact there is no risk.   Please note I have been seeing a psychiatrist for my anxiety and fear I appreciate  your help 


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. I am happy to answer this question, but it will be brief, because Dr. Hook basically answered it in reply to your previous question 4 months ago. His reply included this: "There are NO cases of HIV which have ever been documented to have been acquired by masturbation (mutual or otherwise) or touching an infected person when there was not penetrative, unprotected sex or injection of infected material deep into tissue.  Not a single one!" If touching the genital area and then having non-intimate contact (shaking hands, exchanging money at cash registers, and so on) could transmit HIV, it would not be classified as an STI or blood borne infection and would be a hundred times more common than it is.

Accordingly, I can confirm your own statement "being there was no penetration, no direct contact there is no risk." And I agree that if such fears are negatively impacting your life, professional mental health care is the way to go.

Best wishes and stay safe--   HHH, MD

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44 months ago
Dr Handsfield,

Thank you for answering my original question. I just wanted to follow-up on it briefly. Would vaginal fluid going from her hand to my hand to eye possibly transmit HIV? As it is not direct or originally penstrative. 

I understand that the virus is fragile and does not survive well outside of the body. However, why wouldn't some survive if events occur rapidly?  

Is the transmissibility with fluids outside the body impacted by the virus being deactivated outside the body (temperature or other reasons) or is it that the amount of fluid that would be on a hand and transferred to another hand or mucous membrane simply too small?

What are the window periods for the HIV RNA, 4th gen and 3rd gen tests are they the same for lab and rapid tests, and RPR for syphilis? Thank you so much for your time and I am continuing to work with mental helth professional. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
In theory, hand-eye contact, if the hands are contaminated with HIV infected blood or genital fluids, could transmit the virus. However, in the busiest HIV/AIDS clinics around the world, there are essentially no patients who did not have the standard risks, i.e. vaginal or anal sex or shared drug injection equipment. Since there must have been billions of events in which genital fluids or even blood contacted partners' eyes, that tells you these theoretical risks don't amount to significant risk in real life. Temperature, air exposure, etc probably are less important than the simple fact that it takes lots of virus for the infection to be transmitted, and the amounts from these sorts of contacts simply aren't enough. Just think about it:  ejaculation into the vagina of semen loaded with HIV result in infection in the woman an average of only once in 1,000 exposures. If it's that low with a true high risk exposure, what could the risk possibly be from the very minor amounts of exposure from the kind of events you describe?

There have been innumerable discussions on this forum about window periods for these various tests:  select the HIV Prevention and Safe Sex category and enter "window" in the search menu. This information is also readily available online.
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44 months ago
Thank you Dr Handsfield,

I am uncertain if she even touched my hand or if I rubbed my eye and if she did it would have been very short. Would you recommend teating and abstinence in this situation?  Thank you 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
44 months ago
Isn't this obvious from my replies above? Re-read your own words "being there was no penetration, no direct contact there is no risk." You do not need testing and you can safely continue sex with your regular partner without worry.

Really, mellow out: you're asking about things that everybody knows are risk free. Don't have unprotected vaginal, anal or oral sex and you'll be fine.

Please note that the forum does not permit repeated questions on the same topic or same types of low risk exposure, especially when the questions are obviously driven by anxiety or when there is apparently difficulty in believing or accepting advice already given. This will have to be your last one; future questions about such exposures and need for testing will be deleted without reply and without refund of the posting fee. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and is designed to reduce the temptation to keep paying for questions with obvious answers; because experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users’ anxieties, when professional counseling often would be a better approach; and because repeat or anxiety driven questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum’s main purposes. Thank you for your understanding.

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