[Question #6627] Possible blood contact

15 months ago
Dear doctor,

I would like to ask you to assess a situation I had yesterday.

I suppose it can sound weird as I suffer from HIV irrational fear. I am working on it with a therapist and also with a psychiatrist being on meds for the last three months.

Well, in this context, yesterday as I was riding my bike I suddenly saw a fresh blood puddle in the sidewalk with just a second to try to avoid it.
I think I didn’t go through it but as I saw it I turned to check in a distance (one or two steps from it) if it was blood as it indeed looked. I continued with my ride trying to not give importance but when I returned 50 minutes later I saw it again and I had a strong compulsion to check again in the distance. Then I realized it was going to make things worst and I left.

Now I am worry if I didn´t completely avoid it and some blood got in wheels and then it could have been splashed to my eyes or mouth or my four years old kid who was riding with me in a suppletory child seat. I am also worry if some unnoticed blood could be when I stopped to check in the distance and then got it in my shoes and later in my home. I slightly checked the wheels and clothes and I think there was no blood.

I checked in other posts that once outside the body the blood loses its capability to infect but I have doubts as it was not a small quantity and it really looked fresh.

I think being riding with my kid is making the situation more difficult. He has also started tonight with fever and flu symptoms which I know has nothing to do with this but is making me to continue thinking about it.

Of course I don’t know the source of the blood if it was infected or not and also how long had it been in the pavement before this situation happened.
Anyway I would like kindly to ask for your thoughts. I hope this question doesn´t bother you. I am trying to do my best to overcome this OCD nightmare and this just happened as I was starting to perceive some progress in this slow process.

Thank you very much in advance
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
15 months ago

Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your question. Congratulations on recognizing and addressing your OCD regarding what you describe as your irrational fear of HIV.  My sense is that your concerns are a manifestation of your unwarranted fears and encourage you to discuss this with your therapist.  If you think it might be helpful, please feel free to print and show this to your therapist.

Let me review some of the elements of what you have just described to me:

1.  You do not know if what you saw was blood or not and do not think your bike tire when through it.

2.  Even in the unlikely circumstance was that it was blood, the chance that it was blood from a person with untreated HIV is far less than 1% (i.e. less than 1% of Americans have HIV and of those who are infected, many are treated and thus non-infectious to others). thus there is a greater than 99% chance, IF it was blood, that it did not contain infectious HIV.

3.  HIV is not transmitted through the sorts of events you describe.  There are absolutely no cases of HIV in which the sort of environmental exposure you describe has led to HIV infection.  The virus becomes virtually immediately non-infectious upon exposure to the environment.  You are not going to be the first. 

I hope that this perspective is helpful. There is no imaginable way that the events you describe from yesterday could put you at any risk for HIV or other blood borne infection.  EWH

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15 months ago
Thank you very much Dr Hook for your feedback. Your perspective of course helps.

Best regards