[Question #2337] Contact in room

44 months ago
Doctor,
Thank you for your previous reply to my question. It helped a lot and I'd been without anxiety for weeks! Two incidents yesterday got me concerned and I think I'm safe but want to check to make sure you agree.

Yesterday I was bringing groceries up from my car via the elevator in my apartment complex. When I was grabbing groceries from my trunk, the pineapple I had in a bag poked my fingers and caused some bleeding. As I was going into the elevator, right after I was poked by the pineapple, a man joined me. We had a conversation and I stupidly shook his hand. Now I’m worried what if he had blood or other secretions on his hand which got into my cut. I looked at some other questions and it seems like it is not, but I shook hands with him very shortly after I poked myself with pineapple and this is what has me concerned. Is this a risk for me?

Second, an internet technician was in my apartment yesterday. He wiped his hands on my towel and right after he left, I wiped my hands on the towel. I noticed a stain on it that may be blood.  I had a cut on my thumb from a knife. This is also not a risk, correct?

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
44 months ago
Welcome back to the Forum.  We discussed much of this in our earlier exchange'  I remind you, I said "there are 2 ways which account for nearly all HIV transmission to adults- unprotected, penetrative sexual contact and direct injection of infected material deep into tissue with a needle.  It is not transmitted through eating or drinking material which might have somehow been contaminated with infected material, it is NOT transmitted by touching, hugging or kissing, and it is NOT transmitted by touching inanimate objects such a counter tops, toilet seats or towels which were used by persons with infection."

I realize that persons sometimes worry that fresh cuts might provide  route by which infection can be introduced if they are contaminated by infected material but the fact is that infections just do not occur in this way.  Certainly, even with a cut on your hands, HIV has NEVER been acquired as a result of shaking hands or other non-sexual contact (as I said before, no even by kissing, including open-mouthed kissing) - not ever. 

Similarly, even if the towel was wet with blood r genital secretions from an infected person, there is no risk of getting HIV or other infection from contact with a used towel.

The situations you describe we no risk events with no reason for concern for for testing.  With that let me also remind you of our prohibition on repetitive calls.  EWH

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43 months ago
Thanks Dr. Hook.

I think I know the answer to this question but I'd like to make sure. I worked with a woman today who told me right before I worked with her she opened a wound caused by a cat scratch. She told me right before she saw me she rinsed her wound off in the bathroom and then applied a bandaid she had in her purse. I worried that perhaps she somehow got blood on me. I didn't see any but I worried because I used the bathroom after her and perhaps I got blood on my hand and then into my body (via my nose or my eyes or ears - I don't believe I had any bleeding cuts). This is no risk and no need for testing, correct?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
43 months ago
For all of the reasons I have pointed out before, this was a no risk event.  You need to figure out how to live your life without living in fear of acquiring HIV as you live your life and interact with others who may have curs, scrapes or recent episodes of bleeding.  If you cannot do this on your own, you should seek professional help in doing this.  If you print out the text of this and our previous interactions, your will/should see a pattern.  If you seek professional counseling (and I recommend that you do), show these interactions to the therapist.

In addition,  I need to point out that the forum does not permit repeated anxiety driven questions by the same users. This will have to be your last one; future new questions on this topic will be deleted without reply and without refund of your posting fee. This policy is based on compassion, not criticism, and is designed to reduce temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers; because experience shows that continued answers tends to simply prolong such anxieties, when the real answer normally should be professional counseling; and because such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. I trust you will understand.  EWH
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