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I Must Be a Technological Midget
Oct 1, 2004

Dear Dr. Bob:

Since I am unwilling to believe you could possibly be ignoring my question after 4 desperate email submissions, I have convinced myself that the real reason you're not responding is because my computer is out of commission. So I'm now using a friend's computer and I'm hoping you'll answer this time. Since it might be the length of the previous questions that scared you off, I'll make the story shorter too!

I had dental work done this summer in Eastern Europe. Thought the place was a little dingy but I was desperately in pain. I'm worried that the equipment wasn't sterilized. No other patients were in there when I arrived so we'll say there was at least 10-20 minutes that the equipment sat around before it was used on me. Am I at any risk of HIV or Hepatitis or are these viruses really as "fragile" as people say.

Please answer because I'm quickly running out of friends with computers.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Well as you can see, your friend's computer works much better than yours.

Although I have no personal experience with dental offices dingy or otherwise in Eastern Europe, all I can offer is precautions to prevent the transmission of bloodborne pathogens, like HIV, that have been widely recommended for many years. I am not aware of any particular problems in Eastern Europe in this regard. I can also advise that HIV does not survive outside of the body for very long. Although I do not feel it's medically warranted, if you are worried, why not just get tested? That would put any residual fears to rest and possibly save your friendship with your buddies who have new laptops.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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