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A question from Indonesia - Please kindly advise
Feb 21, 2005

Dear Doctor McGovern,

First of all, I would like to thank you for all of your efforts spent on this site. I have browsed and acquired so many useful information from here.

I have such a case, and I would like to ask for your favorable advice.

After 6 months living in a service apartment (I am currently assigned to an overseas project), I had just realized that the room service staff may had done something to my toothbrush, since I found there was a lot of stains left on the toothbrush (I never leave it that way - because I am very cautious about the cleanliness) and my toothpaste reduced significantly from the last time I used it.

I never left my toothbrush at the bathroom after then (always bring it with me to the office since then).

What worries me is that it had been already 6 months before I realized what happened.

Could you please advise me what is the risk level of hiv/hbv/hcv transmission, if all of the scenarios below are met together:

1.The Room Service staff is HIV/HBV/HCV + 2. He used my toothbrush and had his gum bleeding during the brushing. 3. The closing time for the room service is around 5:00 pm, so that was the latest time when he possibly used my toothbrush. 4. I usually brushed my teeth at 8:00 pm and mostly had my gum bleeding as well (So there were 3 hours lead time between his and my using the same toothbrush).

Can I ensure myself that the risk is non existent regarding the 3 hours lead-time?

Will highly appreciate for your kind answer.

Thank you and may God bless you.

Response from Dr. McGovern

I would estimate that the risk is absolutely minimal. However, as you know the sharing of toothbrushes is not recommended in general due to concerns about potential of transmission, mainly for hepatitis B. I know that you were not aware that this person was using your toothbrush, but I would recommend testing just to protect yourself from an employment status. Please don't worry though while you are waiting for results since I am absolutely confident that they will be negative. If you are paying for the testing, I would just get a hepatitis B surface antigen and core antibody test. Dr. McGovern



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