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HIV/Hepatitis
Apr 10, 2005

Dear Dr. McGovern,

The other day a friend of mine and I were in a bar having a few drinks. There was this strange guy in the bar trying to get our attention and since we didn't want any trouble we just ignored him. When our backs were turned he took out his knife, cut his finger and put a few drops of blood in each of our drinks. Before anyone could warn us of what he did we downed our drinks because we had to go meet our girlfriends who were waiting for us at a different bar. The time between him putting the blood in our drinks and us drinking our drinks was less than 3 minutes. When someone told us what he did we confronted him and he took his knife that was still unsheathed and managed to cut me on my finger drawing blood. He then quickly ran out of the bar and we couldn't find him. No one in the bar, including the bar tender, knew who he was or ever saw him before. Unfortunately, we don't know his medical background. So my question is, taking the worst case scenerio of him being HIV positive or having Hepatitis A, B, or C, what are the chances of us becoming HIV positive or contracting hepatitis from drinking our drinks with his blood in it and me getting cut on my finger after he used it to draw blood from himself. Of course we are going to get tested by a professional but as you know it takes at least three months for the HIV antibodies to register in the blood after the potential exposure. Is there any information you can give us to help ease our minds.

I look forward to receiving any information that you may have.

Thanking you in advance.

Todd

Response from Dr. McGovern

My greatest relief is reading that you have gone for professional advice. This is the type of circumstance where prompt evaluation in an emergency room for an exposure is the most important thing that anyone can do for themselves.

I am not overly concerned about the oral exposure but am concerned about the cut you received. I hope you have communicated to your health care provider that there was concern about the recent use of the knife.

Be certain to follow-up on the professional advice given for testing also.

Dr. McGovern



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