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Possible way of transmission? Please help.
Sep 25, 2011

Hello Doctor. Yesterday I went to a restaurant and found that I was chewing on a piece of plastic. I didn't pay much attention to it because I thought it was the shell from the shrimp. Now I am concerned about the plastic possibly being contaminated with blood. It is like a thin piece of plastic, so I don't think it is the shell. From what I have learned from Thebody.com, is that HIV or Hepatitis can't be transmitted this way. Should I be concerned about possible HIV or Hepatitis exposure? All I did was eat the pasta and shrimp and chewed on the plastic. I didn't swallow the plastic. Should I go to a doctor regarding PEP?

Response from Dr. McGowan

No you do not need to consider HIV post-exposure prophylaxis fro the situation you describe. There is no blood-blood contact. Even if the plastic had been exposed to blood the amount of virus would be negligible and the cooking would kill any virus. In addition eating/chewing is not a high risk behavior for acquiring HIV. Do not worry.

I would try another restaurant next time.

Best, Joe



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