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Jun 23, 2006

Doctor, This is a rather unusual question. I was on my period a week ago and used the restrooms at work. When I flushed the toilet, there was a noticeable amount of blood on the ground. I tossed some toilet tissue onto the blood and used my shoe to wipe the tissue over it. Then i picked up the tissue at the opposite end from where the blood was absorbed and dropped it into the toilet. I assumed the blood was my own [since I was on my period] however, I'm now terrified it was not from my own body. I'm losing sleep over this and I'm terrified I have contracted HIV. I'm pretty sure I had no cuts on my thumb, nor my index finger, only held the tissue for a few moments, and I am pretty sure I did not directly touch the blood. However, I am conscerned that when I used my shoe to wipe the area with the tissue, the area of the tissue I touched may have come into contact with the blood. I made sure to wash up thoroughly after the incidend, and also used a heavy amount of Purel. I've been getting headaches ever since, and may have had a cold sore lasting 24 hrs 5 days after the incident.


Response from Dr. Frascino


First off your question is not so "unusual"! No, not at all! Unreasonable? Yeah, maybe, but unusual? No!!! Lots and lots of folks have completely unwarranted fears of becoming infected with HIV from situations in which it is absolutely impossible to do so. You are just one more example of that phenomenon!

I do often wonder where those fears actually come from. Did someone actually tell you that if you touched toilet tissue that might have touched blood that might have been HIV tainted that you might get infected?

So even though you are "pretty sure (you) had no cuts on your thumb, nor (your) index finger, and only held the tissue for a few moments, and are pretty sure (you) did not directly touch the blood" and you assume the blood was your own anyway, you are still "terrified" and "losing sleep over this"???? Hmmm . . . amazing.

Dearie, even without an overdose of Purel, your HIV risk is completely nonexistent. OK? I suggest you spend some time reading through the information on this site and related links and in the archives of this forum, paying particular attention to how HIV is and is not transmitted. It will be time well spent and will, in the long run, save you loads of money and Purel.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Dr. Bob - a small favor if possible

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