[Question #4709] Question for Doctor Hook

28 months ago
Hello Doctor, 

Sorry that I had to come back. But I have a question to ask you.

28 months ago
I want Doctor Hook to answer please, because I want to ask him about something he wrote previously. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
28 months ago
Users may not select the moderator who responsds, and Dr. Hook is traveling and will not be answering new questions for a few days. He and I have worked closely together for more than 30 years and our expertise, understanding, and advice are always virtually identical, even if our styles are somehat different. I have reviewed your previous discussion with Dr. Hook and agree with all he said. 

Go ahead and ask your additional question.

HHH, MD
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28 months ago

Hello Doctor,


I had a blood draw today for general checkup (the nurse used a butterfly needle) that caused me to be extremely worried about catching HIV.

After my blood was drawn, the nurse first put a gauze and then a band aid. I'm not sure she picked up a clean one and i think she reused one. Assuming that either of gauze or the band aid them blood from the patient before me, am I at risk of catching HIV.

  1. Is 30 seconds sufficient for the virus (blood) to become non-infectious at a gauze or a bandaid at room temperature? (Dr hook said in previous questions that a semen at a toilet seat would die in less than 30 seconds). Is it the same at a gauze or a band aid?

  2. Is the place where they drawn blood from me considered a deep wound (butterfly needle stick)--one that would enable HIV to be transmitted? Even though it was where the vein is?

Thanks a lot doctor!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
28 months ago
Once again this is  your OCD speaking, which I think you know. 

For over 30 years, there has not been a single reported case of HIV being transmitted during the process of having blood drawn -- ever since disposable, non-reusable equipment became the norm, with never re-use of needles, syringes, etc. Even if gauze had been used on a previous, HIV infected patient, not enough virus would be present or could have access to your blood stream for infection to take place.

Asking how long HIV survives in the environment or on exposure to air is not the right question. However long it is, such exposures do not result in HIV. Nobody EVER catches HIV from the environment in places where blood is drawn or anywhere else.

I think Dr. Hook's comments about deep versus superficial wounds have created new concerns for you. (That's one reason why we do not reply to continued repeated similar questions like this. Anxious persons and those witih OCD often take information intended for reassurance and twist it into additional concerns about even more outlandish transmission risks.) Anyway, think of a deep wound as a slash with a knife, the sort that might require stiches; and then having fresh blood from an infected person enter that wound. Anything less than this has never been known to transmit HIV. In medical personnel who have been infected when providing care to HIV infected persons, it always has involved a substantial injury with a sharp instrument while that instrument was also being used on the infected persons, like a scalpel wound in the presence of the patient's blood. Except for blood transfusion (back in the days before it was prevented by testing donated blood), NO OTHER KINDS OF BLOOD CONTACT, OUTSIDE MEDICAL SETTINGS, HAVE EVER BEEN KNOWN TO TRANSMIT HIV.

Another comment about your original question about the case perhaps transmitted by shared manicure equipment. I agree with Dr. Hook that the case was not proven. But even if that's what actually happened, is is the only such case ever reported over 30+ years of the known worldwide HIV epidemic. That there is only one such report proves how rare such an event is, if it occurs at all. There is no realistic chance you will ever be the second case.

You clearly are obsessed with nonsexual transmission of HIV. You need to work to get past that misunderstanding, probably through professional counseling and treatment. If you only have safe sex with partners not at high risk, and if you never share drug injection equipment with other persons, you will never get HIV. There are almost no such persons in the United States and you won't be the first!

I hope these comments are helpful, and that you get appropriate care that brings your HIV related OCD under control. So let's make this the last question from you along these lines. We discourage repeated questions on the same topic or exposure. This policy comes from compassion, not criticism, to reduce temptations to keep paying for questions with obvious answers. In addition, experience shows that continued answers tend to prolong users' anxieties rather than reducing them, especially among anxious persons or those with OCD -- as discussed above. (There's always another "yes but", "what if", or "could I be the exception" question, right?) . Finally, such questions have little educational value for other users, one of the forum's main purposes. Thanks for your understanding. 

HHH, MD

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28 months ago
Thanks for the reply Doctor.  I definitely need to work on my HIV phobia; thanks for telling me Doctor. 
I think my HIV phobia stems from my lack of education on this subject. Thanks for taking the time and relief many people's stress and anxiety. 

1.My main question and concern is this: if a contaminated (HIV) gauze was immediately applied at the puncture site after the butterfly needle stick was removed, would that be risk for HIV. In other words, would the puncture site of the needle give access to the blood stream? 

2. If no, then why, considering that the needle stick was inserted into a vein? (in other words, how is it a superficial cut when it was inserted in the vein)? 

3. I am 100% sure that a new needle was used, but not sure enough that a new gauze or a band aid was used. If there was blood from another patient who is HIV positive on either of them, am I in ANY risk at all? 

I want to safely resume my sexual life Doctor. So I will appreciate the response! 

28 months ago
One more question: in theory, who would dry faster, a semen on a toilet seat, or some blood on a gauze or a band aid? 
this answers will help me A LOT doctor. it will relief all the anxiety i have
28 months ago
assuming that both (the semen on the toilet seat and the blood on band aid or gauze) are at the same room temperature. 
This will be my last question doctor. 
Thank you so very much indeed.  
28 months ago
Edit: not dry faster, but become non-infectious faster. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
28 months ago
Like many with OCD, your mind is finding unlikely or even outlandish scenarios. Trust me on this: these factors are risk free, and there are NO circumstances that are going to come to mind that would change the fact that you are not at risk for HIV. That also goes for blood or semen on toilet seats, even if fresh and wet. As I said above,  how long HIV might survive doesn't matter at all. NOBODY EVER CAUGHT HIV FROM THE KINDS OF EVENTS YOU ARE OBSESSED ABOUT.

That will have to conclude this thread. It also will have your last question on our forum:  carefully read the closing paragraph of my initial reply above.

Best wishes. And please seek care for your mental health disability, which obviously is seriously affecting your life and happiness. This too I suggest from compassion, not criticism.
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