[Question #2533] Thanks and a review

42 months ago
Dr. Handsfield,
Thanks for your guidance. It very much helped me feel better. As I mentioned, I'm seeking professional mental health assistance (which is also helping). 

I want to make sure my evaluation of a situation I experienced yesterday is correct. I was at my local gym yesterday and while in the free weight area I noticed that a man I frequently see there had a wound of some kind on his leg. I believe he may have obtained this wound doing deadlifts, but I'm not sure how he obtained it. I did see what appeared to be some fresh blood on his wound. I became nervous because I had used the same weights he had used right after he put them back on the rack. I had several fresh hangnails on my fingers which had been slightly bleeding when I got to the gym and possibly during my workout.  I'm further concerned because this man has blatantly "hit" on me before (asked me out) and so it appears he is homosexual//bisexual and I know men who have sex with men are at a higher risk of having HIV or other blood borne illnesses.

Am I correct that even if I did contact this man's blood with my hangnails or other mucous membranes (other scrapes I may have had, my ears, eyes, nose, mouth, etc etc etc) that this type of exposure is not a risk, does not warrant testing, and I should not be concerned about it or any future exposures similar? I believe this is not a risky situation yet I still feel I am somewhat reeling from my recent HIV scare and your reassurance that I am thinking correctly would be very useful to me.


H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
42 months ago
Welcome back, but sorry to see you found the need for it. If you completely read and understood my comments last time, you shouldn't need to ask this sort of question. (I understand the emotional/psychological component of your fears. But still, objective analysis should rule.) My closing comment a few days ago included this: "...the busiest HIV/AIDS clinics have essentially no patients without the standard risk factors, which all by itself is strong evidence against transmission through saliva, toothbrushes, or other non-intimate contact with infected persons. As long as you do not have unprotected sex or share drug injection equipment with HIV infected persons, you will never catch it yourself. You can safely ignore any and all other potential exposures that may come to mind as a result of your underlying mental health condition."

Accordingly, my reply now is brief. You are correct that there was absolutely no reason to be concerned. If you had taken up this fellow's offer for a date and if that led to anal sex, there would be reason for concern. But certainly not from the events in the gym.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD