[Question #3501] Very , very unlikely, so please forgive me for asking. Anxiety disorder.

37 months ago
Dear Experts

My name is Diana and I am 40 y.o. so should know better. I suffer from anxiety disorder (treatment ongoing, some progress made, but this is still an issue)

Today I had a procedure called CO2 fractional laser resurfacing on my face. It left me with some red dots all over my face that bleed if one presses on them. 
Because doctors said it would be better not to go outside today (to avoid sun exposure), I ordered food in. It was delivered in a brown paper bag and as I lifted it, the handles of the bag touched my face for about a second or so. 
I looked at the handles (where delivery man was holding the bag) and it had some wet marks. Probably his hand sweated or something. But my mind just clicked that instance the wrong way and a thought popped in " what if it was blood and he was bleeding on the handles of the bag, that is why the handle was wet, it touched your face which has tiny wounds from laser, so now you may get HIV or HEP". I started sweating, got very scared...and found this site. 
I know it is very, very unlikely that the wet mark on the bag was from blood, but could you please help me to calm down (but an honest answer is what i need, of course) and tell me if I was at any risk of infection if we assume the delivery man was indeed infected. 
By the way, I touched the handles with my fingers almost immidiately afterwards and there was no visible blood transferred on my finger, but when i rubbed my cheek with a tissue, there were two tiny blood dots on the tissue. Probably from my tiny wounds due to laser. 
I am sorry if it feels like I am wasting your time . 
Best
Diana 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
37 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question.

I suspect you know that this question stems entirely from your anxiety disorder. Intellectually, I suspect you understand that there is absolutely no risk for HIV, viral hepatitis, or any other blood borne infection from the kinds of events described. To my knowledge, nobody with superficial skin wounds -- such as laser dermatology treatments -- has ever been known to catch HIV through those wounds.

The biological reasons there is no risk are not important, and you can ignore whether or not the string had been moistened with the delivery guy's sweat, saliva, or other body fluids, including blood. HIV has never been transmitted from such contact. Look at it this way:  the household members of people with HIV never catch the virus (assuming they aren't their sex or needle sharing partners), even after 20 years of sharing bathrooms, toilets, kitches, eating utensils, beds, clothing etc with the infected person. Even cleaning up their body secretions, and blood if they sustain a wound, has never been reported as a source of infection.

And by the way, I see no reason to accept your premise, i.e. "if we assume the delivery man was indeed infected".

So you really needn't be worried at all. Please do your best to put it out of your mind, and definitely do not seek HIV or hepatitis testing on account of these events.

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD

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