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HIV infection through daily life
Jan 7, 2004

Dear Sir,

I would be most grateful if you could answer my queries! I am a student living in a dormitory and I am very scared that I may contact HIV as we share toilets! Recently, I am bothered about an incident. After crapping I ran out of toilet paper and so I ventured out and took some water from the wash basin(at my office), washed my left hand with soap and washed my anus with my left hand!I am a bit scared about the scenario in which, my left hand could have touched the wash basin, used by many other people, and if any disease could be transmitted to my anus!

How long can the HIV virus survive in the everyday environment!I was told by someone that it dies immediately on exposure to sunlight!

I am paranoid about HIV! What if one touches the handle of the toilet door, and by mistake touched the eye! Can the virus survice for long time in the enviroment! I perused the web to search for information on this issue , but couldnot find any definitive answer!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

First off, I will agree with you: you are definitely paranoid about HIV.

Second, what do you mean by "daily life?" Do you routinely forego the Charmin' and back your naked tush up to the wash basin at your office for a left handed soapy douche? Since your office is "used by many other people," it seems to me they should be more worried about your putting your poopy butt in their basin, rather than your hand touching the basin and transmitting something to your anus??? Oh well, these are just some questions that popped into my mind as I read your post. To answer your specific question, no, you have absolutely no cause for concern about HIV transmission from the activity you describe. You are correct HIV does not live very long at all outside the body. However, as for HIV dying "immediately on exposure to sunlight," no, that applies to vampires, not HIV.

Consider getting: 1) some counseling for your HIV phobia and 2) an extra roll of toilet paper for your office toilet.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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