[Question #847] HIV concern blood transfer

53 months ago

I went for a sports massage. During massage I noticed masseuse light bleeding from spot on her hand. During massage she began to massage my thighs and groins. I stopped her and ended the massage.

I came home and showered but after getting out of the shower I noticed bleeding from my groin and scrotum on the towel. I do get cracked bleeding skin in the groins and also have blood blisters on my scrotum.

I was concerned about HIV given it turned out the masseuse was offering sexual services. In hindsight it was an unhygienic location and I shouldn't have used the service. 

5 weeks later I was admitted to hospital with pneumonia. I had fevers 39 degrees, muscle and joint pains and nausea. Chest x-ray confirmed pneumonia. Virology was normal for flu like causes. Why is a fit and healthy person like me getting admitted to hospital with pneumonia?

I am finding it hard not believing that I have contracted HIV from the masseuse. She must have rubbed her blood into my bloody wound and infected me? People keep telling me its not possible as HIV dies in air but what if no air was involved as it was pushed straight into my bloodstream. If this is not what is meant by blood transfer then what is? I can't stop feeling I am the unluckiest person in the world and will contract HIV like this. I don't have HIV testing available to me. 

H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
53 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks foryour question.

First, this was a zero risk exposure. In the very unlikely chance you turn out to have HIV, it won't be from the massage. Nobody ever acquired HIV from such an exposure, regardless of scratches or cuts that might have been contacted by the massager's hands. As for "what is meant by blood transfer":  it means injection of blood into the body. It does not mean superficial exposure of the type you had.

Second, HIV infections of only a few weeks duration do not increase the risk of pneumonia. Indeed, even full blown AIDS results only in a few kinds of pneumonia, never the standard pneumonias that sometimes appear in healthy persons. Despite your fears, your pneumonia has absolutely nothing to do with your massage and does not suggest any possibilty you have HIV.

Third, there is an easy answer to your fears:  Have an HIV test! Indeed, why haven't you done so already? Do it now. Assuming you are not otherwise at risk, it will be negative, and that negative test result probably will be more reassuring than anything I can say. This suggestion does not mean I believe you really were at risk:  I do not. I suggest is purely for reassurance.

Feel free to return to let me know your test result if and when you do it. In the meantime, I hope this information has helped.

Best wishes--  HHH, MD

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53 months ago
Thank you for your response. Unfortunately i won't have HIV test available until September October and will update you then.

I have only ever had one partner and negative HIV test in 2015. Only exposures massages.

Just one follow up question. Why would blood on blood contact from superficial wounds be different to a needlestick injury which is also a superficial prick on the healthcare worker? Does capillary blood have less HIV than venous blood?

Thank you.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
53 months ago
The large majority of health care workers who get superficial pricks by HIV contaminated instruments do not get infected. The typical infection in a health care worker results from a greater injury, such as accidental deep injection with a hollow needle known to be contaminated, or a slash with a bloody scalpel, or something like that. But the biological reasons really don't matter. The fact is that the busiest HIV/AIDS clinic never have patients whose only possible exposure was a massage, regardless of wounds or blood that might be present.

You can be confident this exposure did not infect you, and you should continue normal sexual relations with your wife. That's what I would do if I were in your situation. And I wouldn't be tested for HIV.

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53 months ago
Thank you. I feel more reassured. My final post. My understanding of what you are telling me is that no cases of HIV from massage. I'm not sure how often both masseuse and customer would have been bleeding in the history of global massage though. 

 My final question. I am having night sweats drenching my clothes and bedsheets for 3 weeks but the room is not warm. I am not anxious at night but waking with the symptom. I am no longer symptomatic with the pneumonia and feel well. Are night sweats common ARS symptom if so can they occur 7 weeks post exposure ? Or are they a symptom of late stage HIV?  This is for info only.

Thank you for your helpful work.
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
53 months ago
Night sweats are not likelu to be the only symptom of a new HIV infection or ARS and could occur in anyone with current or recent pneumonia. Night sweats occur with innumerable medical conditions other than HIV or ARS. But my main advice still stands: stop screwing around and have an HIV test! Indeed, it should have been done anyway -- most doctors today would automatically test for HIV in any previously healthy person with pneumonia, just to be safe. Speak with the doctor who treated you -- maybe you'll even find you already were tested. If you were not, do it now. As I said above, that it not because I believe it is likely to be positive. But this is routine medical practice and the negative result should reassure you more than anything I can say.

That completes the two follow-up questions and replies that come with each new question, and so ends this thread. Best wishes.

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