[Question #6374] Final Questions

17 months ago
Hello I’m hoping to make this the last questions I ask on this site about these concerns. I’m pretty sure I have a nosophobia with HIV and I’m hoping to be able to be referred to a psychiatrist soon for it. Regardless before I begin treatment I just wanted to ask some final questions on how hiv is or can be transmitted so it can help me think rationally in the future. 

1. Can hiv be spread from wound to wound contact? The type of wounds such as a cut, hang nail, scrape, bitten lip, peeling skin?

2. If there is blood or semen or some other contaminated fluid with the virus on it on a surface such as a doorknob, can it then be spread to another surface or to hands and then to a mucous membrane or open skin and risk infection?

3. I know it isn’t known exactly how long hiv survives in an environment but is it safe to assume it dies after an hour or two? What if it is kept on a wet surface such as a towel?

4. Is it spread only through needles or any sharp object? If I got stabbed by a staple, paper clip, or even a plastic fork that was out in public and it drew some blood would I have a risk or is it only with needles?

5. I’ve grown exceedingly concerned on contracting hiv in my day to day life. Afraid that surfaces may be contaminated with semen or blood of somebody i don’t know and then will touch myself in any opening and contract the virus. It’s gotten to the point where I close my eyes frequently to not leave them susceptible and don’t go out for fear of a needle stick, is it safe to assume that if I obstain from all forms of sex and don’t inject drugs that I won’t have much to worry about? Is there any other way to become infected?

6. I plan to test at 12 days with an RNA test after the oral sex encounter I told you about. Would this be conclusive?

thank you for your time and knowledge 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
17 months ago

Welcome back to the Forum.  On this occasion I happened to pick up your most recent questions and will be providing replies.  FYI, I have reviewed your earlier interaction with Dr. Handsfield and agree with all that he said. Fort that reason it saddens me that you have returned with this somewhat repetitive question.  Your fear of HIV is really over the top and I totally support your decision to seek professional help in addressing why you have these unrealistic concerns. 

1.  No, wound to wound contact does not lead to HIV infection.  The infection is not spread through contact with inadvertent contact with open wounds although obviously it is appropriate and reasonable to avoid such contact.

2.  This is a common misconception.  HIV becomes non-infectious (which typically occurs before it completely dies) almost immediately upon exposure to the environment.  This is at least part of the reason that the infection is NOT transmitted through contact with inanimate objects of the sort you mention.  No risk!

3.  An hour or two is probably too long- in most situations the viruses viability outside the body is measured in minutes.  Also, as mentioned above, even before it actually dies, the virus becomes non-infectious.

4.  Needles transmit HIV more efficiently because the hollow part of the needle can fill with blood, increasing the amount of blood transferred, as well as slowing the environmental exposure.  In contrast, staples and sharp, solid objects are not hollow and therefore are far, far less likely to transmit infection.  I certainly would not worry at all about the sort of injury you describe.

5.  Correct.  HIV is transmitted ONLY through unprotected, direct, penetrative sexual exposure and injection of infected material DEEP into tissue.

6.  Yes.

Finally, I must warn you.  The purpose of our site is to provide scientifically based information on risks and management of STIs, including HIV.  In addition, we encourage clients to review other threads on the site where many similar questions may be found.  We reserve the right to delete repetitive, anxiety-driven questions without a response and without return of the posting fee.  Please be warned.

Take care.  Please don't worry.  EWH

16 months ago
Also what would be the risk of fluid coming into contact with say a nipple piercing thats already been removed for at least 4 months 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
16 months ago
Correct.  No risk from this sort of contact as well.  EWH---
16 months ago
Thank you for your answers and warning. So in general there is nothing to fear without sex or needle injection? I worry a lot and am afraid to even go out for needle attack or contact of blood to a cut. I don’t even feel comfortable rubbing my eyes or making contact with any mucous membrane. Some final questions 

1. I know HIV survives in hollow needle and syringe because of lack of oxygen but would it be able to survive in other closed packaging? Such as pack of cotton pads or mascara or eyeliner?

2. The fork incident. One of my friends jokingly prodded another with a plastic fork from a restaurant. They came out from dispensers but I’m not sure if the one they grabbed was from the dispenser or one laying out already. Either way I’m concerned if there was any risk for hiv to my friend as they got sick two weeks later. 

3. I used a cotton pad to clean where my nipple is healing from having its piercing removed about four months ago. I’d hope it’s fully healed by now but I scratched myself only moments before. The problem is I didn’t thoroughly check the pad before or after. What would be the risk if there were blood on it? 

4. I know you said hiv dies in a matter of minutes. Do you mean around 10 or 40? 

5. Would you recommend prep for somebody who is anxious about hiv and has a nosophobia with it? 

Again thank you for you knowledge and I’m sorry if my questions are repetitive. It’s just frustrating how a year ago I never even considered hiv or gave it a second thought and now I have a fear of it that’s controlling and ruining my life. I’m hoping that learning more about how it IS and ISNT spread will help me as well as therapy later. 
16 months ago
Also I understand mosquitos don’t spread hiv because they don’t inject the blood into other people. But what about when you kill them and there’s the blood after?
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
16 months ago

You are continuing to ask repetitive, anxiety driven questions.  Asking variants of questions you have asked will not change the answers.  As you know, we provide up to three responses to each clients questions and therefore this thread will be closed shortly without further responses.  New questions along the lines of those asked in this thread may be closed without a response and without return of your posting fee.  You mentioned earlier that you planned to seek professional counseling to address what you appreciate as illogical concerns.  I encourage you to do so and to do so sooner than later.  You may wish to print this and your earlier interaction with Dr. Handsfield to demonstrate the issues.

On to your final responses:

1.  No, HIV would not survive in closed packaging or products of the sort you describe.  No one have EVER been infected through infection from something purchased in a closed product package.

2.  As I indicated above- there is no risk for acquisition of HIV from the fork interaction you described.

3.  Zero risk.

4.  10

5.   Absolutely not.  PrEP is no substitute for addressing the underlying problems, your unwarranted anxieties

6.  No risk from blood exposure resulting from killing mosquitoes.

This completes this thread.  Please seek professional counseling.  EWH