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Possible Broken Skin Exposure to Semen and Hepatitis Symptoms
Oct 8, 2001

Dr. Dieterich,

I am worrying about a possible exposure to semen.

Approximately two months ago, I visited an adult arcade (where they show adult movies in individual booths). I had a day old cut on my hand.

I began to fear that I could have contracted HIV through this exposure. I have been tested at on and two months, and I am convinced that HIV is not a significant risk (based on information available on this site).

In the past week, I have developed the following symptoms that lead me to believe that i may have contracted Hepatitis B or C : swelling on both sides of my face (cheeks), a mild ache under my ribs on the right side, and lymph node swelling on my neck and under one of my ears.

Do you consider my exposure a significant risk of Hepatitis B or C?

If so, given the time frame that I am dealing with, which tests should I take to determine whether I have contracted. I am a bit confused about all of the testing options, especially with respect to Hepatitis B.

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

It is not clear to me exactly what the exposure was. It doesn't really matter though. If it is an acute exposure you should ask for HCV RNA testing as well as antibody. If it is acute HCV the Ab will be negative and the RNA positive. For acute HBV it is a little more complicated. You should be tested for HBcAg with the IgM marker as well as surface antigen, e antigen, surface antibody an e antibody as well as HBV DNA. If you don't have antibodies for HBV or for hepatitis A, you should get vaccinated! DTD



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