Jan 29, 2006
Dr. Bob, My husband and I are magnetic(he's positive). Your story really made an impact in our relationship( a good one) My question is : is it hard to hear people talk about how their lives are over and how horrible things would be with the disease, when you are already dealing with it? It shows great compassion on your part to listen and to encourage those who write in. I guess I do have another simple question to ask - are there any documented cases of transmission by shsaring toothbrushes? Is it really a risk? Thanks for being great!
Response from Dr. Frascino
On a daily basis I guess at least a dozen questioners will write in and dramatically proclaim they will commit suicide if they are HIV positive. The vast majority of these anxiety-ridden wrecks are also begging me for help, because they are too terrified to get an HIV test. Being too scared to even get tested while at the same time claiming readiness to commit hari-kari if positive is an interesting juxtaposition. Most probably don't realize (or are too self absorbed to care) that the person they are begging and pleading advice from is actually living with HIV/AIDS their worst nightmare. Sometimes I find these folks annoyingly insensitive and because they are so overly dramatic and self-centered, I ignore their questions. However, most of the time, I just feel sorry for these unfortunate individuals. Their misery, although self inflicted, is real, and they are often in need of psychiatric help.
Regarding toothbrushes, it would be difficult to have a "documented case." As you can probably imagine, folks who share toothbrushes usually share a lot more than that. So it is difficult to "document" with certainty that the toothbrush was the only potential cause for infection. Generally speaking, it is not recommended that you share razors, toothbrushes or other utensils where blood-to-blood transmission could occur. That said, I certainly don't believe anyone should run to their doctor for PEP because they happened to brush with the "wrong" toothbrush.
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