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I would never forget myself
Apr 2, 2003

Hi David, I have recently been told that I'm HIV+, I got infected by cleaning afer a pregnant patient with HIV at a hospital..although I was told that it would have been really hard to get infected by cleaning after what the patient puked, it unfortunatelly happend. I had the gloves on my hands, and I didnt have fresh cuts on my hands, still I didnt have any mask on my face, but I cant exclude that something didnt come into my eyes, though I dont remember...what worries me greatly here is the fact that I could have been infected almoust one hour after exposure.. I have washed my hands four-five times after exposure, but never all the way up to elbows..I know that that part of the my hands was exposed too,not tottaly but with a couple of drops of her body liquids..well, it took one hour when I first for real have properely wiped my nose with both hands, with the parts I never washed..during the previous hour, I was moving all the time, very fast, I was cleaning other places, and was very mobile, the hands were all the time exposed to the air, and I would like to ask you if these to- three small drops would evaporate after been exposed to the air in 50 min..I would have peace in my soul if could have known that infection came in some other way and not by my stupid failure to wash my hands all the way, up to my elbows..can you help please just to get hopefully some peace in my mind

keep up the good work

Response from Dr. Wohl

I'll tell you, I find the idea that you became infected cleaning a room fantastic and hard to believe. Certainly, nothing you describe put you at any risk of acquiring HIV.

Why did you end up getting tested anyway? When did this so called exposure happen? Was the pregnant women HIV+?

I assume you have had an HIV antibody test which was confirmed with a western blot test and that you know your T-cell count and HIV viral load. If so you may get a sense of whether or not this incident was the cause of your infection. Truthfully, although in an infinite universe anything is possible, I am dubious. If I am wrong, do know that there is nothing you did incorrectly as far as I can tell. DW



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