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HBV/HCV in Water
Aug 25, 2002

Dear Doctor:

Several weeks ago, I had a table shower at a massage place. It's similar to a sponge bath. The woman dipped a sponge into a barrel of soapy water, washed me with it, and then rinsed me with a shower-hose. My question is: Is there any appreciable risk of contracting HBV or HCV from the soapy water/sponge coming into contact with the tip of my penis or rectum? I had no open cuts/sores. I have no way of knowing whether any previous customers' bodily fluids were in that barrel of water. Hopefully, any viruses in the soapy water would be quickly (within minutes) diluted and/or rendered non-infectious.

Thank you,

Very Worried

Response from Dr. Fried

I doubt there is any risk of acquiring HBV or HCV from the practice you describe. I always recommend the HBV vaccine for anyone who is not immune to HBV to protect against future exposures that may be higher risk. Check with your doctor about the vaccine.

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