[Question #6656] Risk of HIV

13 months ago
I was in a hotel in Windhoek, Namibia. After my shower I dried my self with a towel. Realized the white towel had a huge reddish brown stain that almost covered the middle of towel . The stain looked fresh as in may be blood was wiped there few hours ago. Not sure why room cleaner may have placed it there. Unsure where the blood may have come from. I wiped myself dry vigorously using the towel on my genitals( penis , scrotum) and anus area. I do have eczema around there where I scratch quite often and may have had some scratch open wounds. 
I didn’t think of it then much and I didn’tshower again later for another 30 hours as I was traveling.  
Given Namibia has high prevalence  of HIV , if that was truly blood of a HIV + person. What are the chances of transmission if I had rubbed that towel all over my genitals and anus area and given I have bad eczema there.
This happened like 5 days ago
Do I need HIV testing?
Can I have unprotected sex with my wife?
Do I need to be careful while taking care of my 2 month old without worrying transmission during window period?
Would HIv survive in the blood in the towel for few hours like let’s say 4-5 hours? If it was lot of blood and high viral load?

Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
13 months ago

Welcome to our Forum and thanks for your question.  I can only imagine how distressing it is to find that your towel had been potentially contaminated in this way. That said, I can assure you that despite your eczema and the vigor with which you dried yourself, even if the stain on the towel was HIV containing blood there would be no risk whatsoever for acquisition of HIV.  I see no need for HIV testing and no need for you to abstain from unprotected sex with your wife.  Similarly, there is no need for special precautions in taking care of your infant child. 

HIV becomes non-infectious upon contact with the environment.  Further, once on a towel the virus would likely remain attached to the fibers of the towel material.  This was a no risk event for HIV or other STIs.  EWH

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