[Question #6127] Risk of disease from dried blood

18 months ago
I recently was in a public restroom and had to go so bad I didn’t pay attention like I usually do and just sat down on the seat. Once I got up I noticed some dry blood on the seat. I say this because I took some toilet paper and ran it over it to see if any excess would come off. It did not. I then washed my hands (no soap available) for probably too short of a time and left. My question is am I at risk of contracting any diseases or infections that are spread through blood? Hep C and B? HIV? I had previously thought that HIV died upon exposure to air but now reading that it can survive for days on end ? Should I be concerned / get tested? This happened Friday it is now Tuesday and as of yesterday I’ve developed quite a sore throat, ear aches probably due to the sore throat. I feel quite tired too. Some pain in under arms. No fever though.  Thank you for the help as I’m quite worried 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
18 months ago
Welcome back to the forum. Thanks for your continued confidence in our services.

Some questions can be answered accurately based only on the title of the question. That's probably the case here. Having read only the title, I will say that there has never been a case of HIV known to be transmitted by contact with blood or other body fluids in the envinroment, whether the blood or fluids were wet or dry. No matter what kind of contact you had with dried blood, you can be sure there is no risk of HIV.

Now I have read the question. Guess what? My only additional comment is that my reply includes all blood borne infections, at least for dry blood. And getting even wet blood on intact skin, such as your thigh or buttocks. It doesn't matter whether or how long HIV lives in dried blood; that's the wrong question. If there has never been a case of transmission from blood contact in the environment, the biological reasons (e.g. survival of the virus) don't matter. As for your symptoms, they are not at all suggestive of a new infection with HIV or any other blood borne virus:  not only are the symptoms not the right ones, they started much too soon. You can't get symptoms from any of these infections sooner than 7-8 days (usually 10-14 days) after exposure.

So no risk at all and no need for testing. Don't worry at all about this. I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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18 months ago
Thank you for that very fast and thoughtful reply I appreciate it and really love this informative forum. Only other thing that crossed my mind was if my fingers had somehow come in contact with the blood on the seat, then I say may have scratched a scab or rubbed eyes, or something like that. Am I still okay? Thank you again. 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
18 months ago
No, these things would be risk free.

The world's busiest HIV/AIDS clinics, with thousands of patients, almost never see patients who do not have standard, well known risks (sexual, drug use, birth to an infected parent, and so on). When no obvious source is known initially, it always turns out there were standard risks that the patient denied -- sometimes intentionally untruthful out of embarrassment, stigma, etc; and others because they were at risk but didn't know it, e.g. a spouse who, unknown to the patient, was bisexual, an injection drug user, etc. Obviously, in day to day life people come into contact with blood or body secretions quite frequently, often without knowing it. And yet nobody ever shows up with HIV who hasn't had the standard risks. Because of such observations, when AIDS was brand new -- before the cause was known and HIV had not even been discovered -- public health officials were able to tell the public that there is no risk from the environment or from non-intimate personal contact with affected persons. Those observations, now nearly 40 years old, have stood the test of time.

Based on both the nature of these questions and your questions about herpes in your previous thread, I wonder if you are germophobic, either in general or in relation to STDs, HIV, etc. Are you frequently worried about contagion and contamination? If so, does it affect your life in signfiicant ways?
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18 months ago
I think I get overly freaked out when it comes to STDs and blood Bourne things from time to time but wouldn’t say it affects my daily life. Last silly question. Going on the idea that I had somehow touched it with my fingers, if I had eaten something after, or somehow gotten my fingers in contact with my mouth would that serve as a point of contamination ? I only ask as I suffer some with gingivitis which I know is the micro abrasions and didn’t know if that could be a point of entry for the HIV or other things thanks 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
18 months ago
You can go through all sorts of "what if" or "am I the exception" thoughts (it's standard psychodymamic for germophobia and OCD) and the answer will always be no. That includes this scenario. Have only safe sex and don't share drug injection equipment with anyone, and you will never get HIV or other bloodborne viruses. It's that simple.

That completes two follow-up comments and replies and so ends this thread. I hope the discussion has been helpful.
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