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He Shoots...He Scores
Oct 12, 2004

Dr. Bob: NHL withdrawl has given me way too much time to stress about a previous exposure and I really need your expert advice. I got a body piercing done this summer while vacationing in Canada. Two weeks later a bright red rash broke out on my chest. It lasted a few hours, disappeared and never came back. Had a bad case of the runs for 4 weeks too. Coincidence? You tell me (please). Can a person even get hiv from this? Please let me know because I really don't want to waste money on testing if I don't have to and the money could be better spent on donations. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Pierced Hockey-Guy,

First off, when I hear or read the phrase "HE SHOOTS . . . . HE SCORES," hockey is not what comes to mind.

In order to answer your question accurately, I would need to first ask you a few questions, such as who, what, where, when, how, etc. If, for instance, you had a tasteful little diamond stud placed in your left ear lobe at a reputable site that used strict universal precautions to prevent transmission of blood-borne pathogens, I'd say, "Relax, you're fine." If, on the other hand, you got wasted at a leather/S&M circuit party and woke up naked in a dirty back alley next to an inked, multiply pierced, toothless dude named Bruno and you suddenly had three tongue studs, two nose rings, an old nail driven through each nipple and a rusty Prince Albert large enough to hang a whole collection of pots and pans from . . . well, that's another story.

Your symptoms, a transient chest rash and a not-so-transient Montezuma's Revenge, are not worrisome for HIV ARS or HIV disease. In general, most piercing palaces are well aware of the risk of blood-borne diseases (not only HIV, but hepatitis and others). Consequently, appropriate precautions are taken. However, if you are asking the hypothetical question "Could HIV or hepatitis be transmitted by piercing if appropriate precautions were not taken?" then the response would have to be yes, it is possible. Is it likely to happen in Canada? No. In fact, it would be very unlikely. Should you get tested? Only you can decide that, as only you know the details surrounding your new body jewelry.

Hope that helps. Do be careful if Bruno wants to "shoot and score" with you, OK?

Dr. Bob



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