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Anxiety Attack and Symptoms. PLEASE HELP!!
Sep 7, 2002

First, let me say thank you for being so upbeat, it really helps. About five days ago, I walked into a public restroom. I used a urinal and then moved over to a stall. Upon entering the stall, I noticed what appeared to be blood on the toilet seat (not just a drop, either). Anyhow, I left the bathroom immediately and soon washed my hands (which had no cuts or abrasions at the time). But I'm worried sick because I don't know if I happened to touch blood and be unaware of it, and even worse, let it come into contact with mucous membranes and not know it (for instance, when I used the urinal). I know the blood could not have been there for more than 90 minutes, because I was last there at that time and saw nothing. I don't recall coming into contact with blood nor letting this blood come into contact with membranes. But nonetheless, I feel I should be tested in three months and refuse any sexual activity to be safe. Then, about a day or two later, I noticed a scratchy throat. Five days later, I have a mildly scruffy throat, but no pain or swelling. No real other symptoms, but of course I will think every little thing is HIV. What do you recommend? THANK YOU...

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"Scruffy" throat? What's that? I thought scruffy was shabby or unkempt? Oh well, I really don't think your untidy throat is at all a worry.

Seeing blood on a toilet seat is not a risk for HIV. The virus can't attack you from across the stall, for heaven's sake! Even if blood touched your intact skin, you are not at risk. As for blood getting into your membranes, I'm quite confident you would remember if this had occurred. HIV does not live very long at all outside the body. Your risk of contracting HIV from what you describe is absolutely zero, zilch, nada, nyet - OK? Do you need to be tested? No. You did not have a risk exposure. What do I recommend? I'd recommend some therapy or counseling to help you with your HIV phobia.

As for the "scruffy throat," well, a Channel scarf or choker necklace might improve the situation.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob


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