[Question #6815] I did something dumb, was I exposed?

12 months ago
I went to a deli and the guy making my sandwich was wearing gloves, I guess he cut himself while making my sandwich. He told me about it, but stated that the blood was all inside his glove. He ended up washing the knife, cleaning himself up, and putting on new gloves. Like an idiot I ate the sandwich instead of asking for a new one. If he was wrong and some blood did get on my sandwich, could I have been infected if he had something? Hep C, HIV, syphilis etc.  It was a few minutes between the time I got my sandwich and ate it. Is testing warranted?

Thanks
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
12 months ago
Welcome to our forum and thanks for your question.  I’m pleased to tell you that even if there was some blood on/in your sandwich, there is no risk for acquiring HIV, hepatitis, or any other STI.  No transmission of this sort has ever been described or observed despite the fact that, in all probability, many many others have been exposed in this way.  There are many reasons for this including that it is statistically unlikely that the person preparing your sandwich had untreated HIV or other STI, that these pathogens become non-infectious upon exposure to the environment, and that infections due to ingestion have not been observed.  I see no reason for testing of any sort.

I hope this assessment is helpful.  If anything I’ve said is unclear, please use your up to two follow-up questions for clarification.  EWH 
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12 months ago
When you say "many many others have been exposed in this way" what do you mean by that? And just to confirm I do NOT need to test?  
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
12 months ago
Correct, you do not need any sort of test.

Mt statement was intended to point out that logically, many other persons have ingested food which had been prepared by (and potentially contaminated by) someone with a fresh cut on their hands.  EWH 
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12 months ago
Thank You for your reply. One last question: isnt your mouth a mucous membrane, wouldn't that be a way in for the virus? Kind of like performing oral sex on a female during her menstrual cycle?? Thanks!! 
Edward W. Hook M.D.
Edward W. Hook M.D.
12 months ago

Yes, the lining of the oral cavity is a mucous membrane but all mucous membranes and their vulnerability to infection vary a great deal.  There are no instances in which HIV has been proven to have been acquired by performance of cunnilingus on an HIV infected women, irrespective of where she might be in her menstrual cycle.  More relevant to your original question, neither has anyone ever been proven to have acquired HIV from ingestion of contaminated food

As you note, as this is my 3rd response as part of this thread, as per Forum guidelines the thread will now be closed without further responses. I hope that the information I have provided is helpful. Take care. EWH

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