[Question #7787] Blood exposure, rubbing eyes.. So stressed

23 days ago
Hello Experts,
Thank you for your services. I use your site regularly to read other questions as I have probably ocd, but this time I felt the need to ask my own question seeking for your risk assessment and advices. With many thanks In advance. 
Here what had happened two days ago. 
in my work, I touched a red stain(a bit pink) I don't know what was it but let's assume it was infected blood. I panicked and I washed my hand with some perfum liquid soap. After that (some minutes) I rubbed my eyes with the same finger which had blood stain on it. I rubbed the area between eyes and nose. 
I also had cuticles and peeled skin around some fingers (some of them was a bit bleeding) and I touched this cuticles with the finger which had blood stain on it (touched them while I was washing my hand and after) 
I know that washing hands with soap perhaps kill the virus but the problem, after rubbing eyes and touching cuticles I checked my finger and the red stain was still there (even after washing). I don't know if I didn't well wash my hand or I touched another stain. 
To sum it up, and in worst scenario, I rubbed my eyes with a finger which had red stain on it. And I touched other cuticles and peeled skin (probably bleeding a bit) with that finger. 
1- is there any risk? 
2-should I test?
3-must I take Pep? As I still in the 72 first hours? 
4-must I abstain from unprotected sex with my wife? 
5-is a red stain in finger can infect if I rub my eyes and I touch cuticle? 
6-does any soap kill the virus instantaneously? Even if the red stain still there? 
7-does air kill the virus even if the stain still there? If yes, how long does it take to kill it? Seconds? 
8- is it safe to move on in my life without worries and forget about this event?
Please consider worst case while answering. Many thanks in advance 

23 days ago
9- does the virus still infectious outside the body? 
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
23 days ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your confidence in our services -- and for being a regular viewer.

Thanks as well for reading our replies to questions similar to your own. Having done that, I'm sure you won't be surprised by replies. I'll start with a general comment about blood exposures and HIV risk. Public health, various organizations, health educators, and website collectively have not done a great job educating about blood-related risks. There is a tendency to describe risk as black or white, i.e. some exposures risk HIV transmission, and others carry zero risk. The truth is that many exposures that might carry theoretical risk -- and that various sources therefore describe as risky -- are so low risk that it can and should be ignored. It simply isn't true that any blood exposure regularly transmits HIV. The only blood exposures ever known to actually do so are transfussion of blood or blood products; inuries to medical personel with sharp instruments visibly contamined with lots of visible blood; and maybe a very few cases when someone was exposed to large amounts of blood, of the kind that might occur when providing help to the victim of a gunshot wound, auto accident, etc. In the entire 40+ year history of the known world-wide HIV/AIDS epidemic, there has never been a single case of HIV being caught by anyone exposed to small amounts of blood in the environment or by personal contact with other persons.

From those comments, you can work out the answers to your specific questions. Even if you assume the red-pink stain was blood, it is obvious you didn't have sufficient exposure to catch HIV. Zero risk for sure. Going to your specific questions, to assure no misunderstanding:

1) Nope, no risk at all.
2) You do not need HIV testing.
3) You definitely should not take PEP. (Any doctor who agreed to prescribe it should lose her medical credentials!)
4) You need not abstain from sex with your wife.
5) IF the stain was blood, AND if it was wet, AND you observed wet blood on your finger, AND you then rubbed your eye (or your cut cuticle) with that finger, you MIGHT catch HIV. But obviously none of this happened -- and as I said above, nobody in the world ever caught HIV in this manner. You will not be the first!
6) Yes:  all soaps instantaneously kill HIV and make it non-transmissible.
7,9) Drying kills the virus; air exposure does so by contributing to drying of blood or other infected fluids. And therefore the virus is rarely if ever infectious outside the body.
8) Yes, it is safe to move on without worry.

So all is well -- nothing to worry about. I hope these comments are helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.

HHH, MD
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23 days ago
Hello doctor,
Many thanks for your answers, I was very stressed and now I feel better. However, for my better understanding I have some more questions and I hope it will not make you upset (I totally believe what you have said, just to clear any confusion) 
1- if I well understood, even if the stain was blood and wet there is no risk (or at least theoretical) and does not require any testing? Because you said "are so low that it can and should be ignored" and you said "there has never been a single hiv case being caught by exposure to small amount of blood in environment"? 
2- I'm sure in my case, I rubbed my eyes after washing my hand with perfum soap and hydro alcoholic gel. But I'm afraid because after I noticed that the red stain is still in my finger. Does washing hand kill the virus even if the stain was still there?
3- some known hiv forums say that HIV is no longer infectious once exposed to air even if it is still alive, is it true?  
4- now I'm also stressed about the cuticle (I taught it was superficial cuts), if the cuticle touch blood stain from my soiled finger or from other soiled surface? The cuticle was red and the skin was peeled with some dry blood on it (my blood). 
5-if the blood which I touched with my finger had left its host (the body) one or two minutes ago (I mean It stayed one or two minutes exposed to air) is it still infectious?
6- do you mean by wet blood, cooling blood? I mean it must be liquid and fresh? Does it stay infectious once it start drying? 
7- when I was washing my hand, I'm afraid that my soiled finger touched the cuticle and peeled skin of other fingers. Is there any risk? I mean I was using the soap at that time. 
8-for futur, if I see or touch any dry blood stain on any surface, is there any risk if I touch after that my eyes or mouth or any other part?I'm asking because This morning I received a courrier from foreign country and also I saw a red stain on it. I mean is there any risk if I touched and touched other parts of my body (eyes for example) 
9- is it correct to say that any dry blood is no longer infectious? 
10- may I be sure that if I didn't touch any Fresh (liquid) blood and immediately touched eyes, there is no risk? In my case It was not fresh, but there was stain. 
11-with all the above details, do you still consider it a no risk event? And no need for testing? And no need for Pep? 
12-is there any case which may change your mind? And if you were in my situation what would you do? 
Doctor, sorry for the details, I have hiv phobia and I want to make sure that I didn't take any risk and I will not take any risk from environmental surfaces. 
Many thanks in advance and so sorry
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 days ago
Some of these points simply restates the same questions in differnt words, and others state your correct understanding of my previous replies. I haven't changed my mind. Therefore, going to the last two:

11) Yes:  with all the above details, the events describe were zero risk in regard to HIV.
12) And no, there is no possible case in which I would change this opinion or advice.

You're always free to be HIV tested anyway, if the negative result will ease your mind. I suggest it strictly for reassurance, not because I believe there is any chance you have it. Threads are closed after two follow-up comments and replies. Therefore, if you decide to be tested, let's have no more comments or disucssion until and unless you decide to be tested and would like to tell me the result. 
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22 days ago
Hello doctor,
I got it that It was a zero risk event, thank you a lot for your patience and answers. 
I did several tests recently (because as I told you I developed hiv phobia), the tests was because having a hair cut, suspecting reuse of needle in laboratory, visiting dentist. This time I will follow expert's advice and forget about it. 
Please doctor, I'm begging you to answer me for the last time. I just to know if there was any risk in the following situation and I promis you I will forget and move on. 
I went to the doctor this morning, I wanted to talk to her about my hiv phobia. She started talking to me and she told me that she got a needlestick this morning and she is not afraid (she was wearing a pad in her finger), after that she took off the pad and checked her finger and then continued to write and touch stuff in her office (with bare finger). 
We talked after that for some minutes (5 minutes at least) and then she gave me an orientation letter to psychologist.
When I hold the letter I hold it between two fingers (index and middle) so this letter touched my hangnail (this hangnail was not at all bleeding, just a piece of skin peeled and under it there was normal skin) 
There was not fresh blood or even visible spot. 
I'm just asking in case if she was infected and she got some blood on her injured and then she touched the letter with that finger (I'm afraid if there was some tiny blood spot on the letter and I didn't see it, but there wasn't any visible blood) and then this tiny spot touched my  hangnail (which was not open nor bleeding). I will not ask too much question. 
1-is there any risk doctor? If she touched the letter with her injury (highly likely it was dried injury) and then the letter touched my hangnail (not open, nor bleeding) just peeled skin and under it there was intact skin. 
2-after reading my story, do you still suggest any testing? 
3-should I take PEP after this morning exposure (the doctor exposure)?
4- can the virus live on paper surface without any visible blood on it? I mean just by touching the wound the virus moves to the paper?
5- what is your advice for me to overcome my hiv phobia (ocd), must I stop definitely looking for hiv issues on internet? 
Doctor, I'm begging you  to answer me. Please help me. I promis I will follow your advice. Please doctor
22 days ago
One last detail doctor, the injured finger was the one she used to hold the letter and gave it to me.
I hope I was enough clear, sorry for my English I'm not native speaker. 
Doctor, I'm begging you to answer me
22 days ago
Doctor my last question I promis,
6-is it safe to continue to have unprotected sex with my wife, after this last exposure (the doctor one)? 
So sorry for all this detail, I'm really in need of your help, I will do my best to follow your advice. I promis
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
22 days ago
You continue to ask questions I have already answered. It is clear you either are not reading or do not understand my previous replies. The anwers will not change just by changing the wording. The additional details you mention make no difference, and I already told you that there are NO details you can think of that will change anything.

That concludes this thread. PLEASE DO NOT RETURN TO THE FORUM TO ASK ANY MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS EVENT AND YOUR HIV FEARS. IF YOU DO, THE QUESTION WILL NOT BE ANSWERED AND YOUR POSTING FEE WILL NOT BE REFUNDED. Thank you.
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