[Question #5410] Soap used to wash my eyes

22 months ago
Doctors:

As you can tell from my previous question, I have an exaggerated fear of HIV. Thank you for answering this additional question. 

I hosted a gay friend for multiple days and he showered at my house. While I know we did not share personal items like toothbrushes and razors, I keep baby shampoo in my shower to wash my eyelashes, as l have sensitive eyes. Obviously the point of using baby shampoo, recommended by my opthalmologist, is that when you're cleaning your eyelashes, soap and water can enter the eyes. The shampoo bottle has a pump top, and I apply the soap to my hands and then wash the eye area. I am worried that my friend could have used the shampoo and had blood or semen on his hands and left residue on the pump top or somehow contaminated the shampoo in the bottle and then I placed myself at risk when applying the shampoo to my eye area.  We showered within minutes of each other. 

My friend has had occasional unprotected sexual exposures. In general, do I have to remove the soap I use in the bathroom when hosting him, or is this just OCD and sharing soap is without risk? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. Thanks for your continued confidence in our services.

Any and all soaps instantaneously kill HIV. There is no possibility of HIV transmission via a shared soap product of any kind. That baby soap is formulated to not be painful or irritating to the eyes is independent of soap's action in dissovling the outer membrane of HIV and killing it.

Looking at both this and your previous question, I'll say what should be obvious. If you do not have sex or intimate exposure to another person's blood, you will never catch HIV. The virus has never once been reported to have been transmitted by exposure to contaminated foods or objects in tne environment. For example, you can find all sorts of fears or even claims about HIV transmission from, say, stepping on a used needle. But no such event has ever once been reported reliably to have actually happened.

So my advice is to not ask any more questions along these lines. It doesn't matter what sorts of scenarios you might come across or that you might think up. If there has been no unprotected sex and no overt blood exposure (e.g. shared drug injection equipment), our reply will always be "no risk, no worries!". If you do not have sex or needle sharing with your gay friend, you will never get HIV from any sort of contact with him -- even if he has HIV, which may not be the case.

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

HHH, MD
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22 months ago
This is crystal clear, Dr. Handsfield. I am going to screenshot your reply and use it as a reminder against irrational worry. 

I go back and forth as to whether I need counseling or medication for this fear (it's sporadic rather than chronic), but I am grateful for your compassion and patience as a physician. I know it can't be easy to have to repeat yourself multiple times every day. Thank you. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 months ago
Always counseling first -- then the counselor can help determine whether medication should be part of the program.

Thanks for the thanks. I hope the discussion is helfpul. 
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