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To those worried about inanimate object transmission (from a medical student)
Jan 19, 2004

Im writing to those who are worried about transmission from inanimate objects (ie razors)

11 years ago i visited my family of which one was in the advanced stages of aids. he was not on any medication and thus im assumming that at that point his viral load was very high. at the time i was 14 years old and decided to go in and shave the little beard i had as soon as he was done in he bathroom. Without noticing, i used his razor by accident. since my skin was probably very sensitive (i was only 14), im positive there were nicks here and there. I did not think much of it until 2 months ago when i got a severe cold. i had a really bad fever, night sweats, rigors, cough, etc. I went to the student clinic and a chest xray as well as a CBC was drawn. The xray came back ok, but the CBC showed a severe lymphopenia (absolute was 0.5 and relative was 9). As soon as i saw that i freaked. the first thing that came to my mind was HIV. I told the nurse practioner about my previous exposure and she told me that that level of lymphopenia could indicate HIV and that i should get tested. I asked her if my current illness could be causing the lymphopenia ( i figured the "cold" was viral) and she said probably not. At that point i was crapping myself. Later that night i developed a bacterial conjunctivitis. It was cultured and it turned out to grow H. influenzae. This bacteria is a very uncommon cause of conjunctivitis in people my age (25years old now)(it is common in babies). A literature search turned out showing that some people with immunodefeciecies are at risk for getting bacterial conjunctivitis. Putting all these things together i assumed i was HIV positive. For the next three weeks all i can think about was how my life was going to change and everything i was looking foward to in life was going to change. i finally got the balls to go get tested and it turned out negative.

my message to all who are worried is that YOU CANNOT assume anything until you are actually tested. even if you have 20 symptoms seen in people with HIV it DOES NOT mean you have it. Get tested! My other point is that i see alot of people asking questions about transmission from razors, toothbrushes, etc. It is a very rare way of transmission. I am still in shock (and thankful to GOD!!)that i did not get it through a razor!!

Although i never asked a question on this site, i used it so much over the past few months that i thought i would put my own story down!!

Thanks to everyone (and sorry for the TERRIBLE grammer!!!!)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Thanks for sharing your story. Good luck in medical school!

Dr. Bob



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