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Infection from Contaminated Gloves
Jul 29, 2006

Bob,

I don't care how many times i had to try, I always hope i can get the answer from you.

I went to get tested in a confidential testing center in Cambodia,an under-developing country if you may call, and my HIV test turned out negative (thanks god!). Soon after a fake happiness, I have become overwhelmed with the anxiety of getting infected from contaminated gloves!

One mistake the Lady who did the blood drawing made is not changing the gloves. I did not think it posed any risks at all until I thought it through. Just before I entered the room, she had performed her job to another person who had the same test like me too. Five minutes later, after consulting, she used exactly the same gloves to draw my blood.

Here are my assumptions: - She touched the previous person¡s small amount of blood (possibly while drawing the sample.) and the blood is infected. - The blood was wiped off or remained so little to notice, but there were some viruses left over on the gloves (No visible blood or fluid on the gloves, though i did not observe thoroughly) - Five minutes later, she picked a new piece of alcohol-soaked cotton with those contaminated gloves to wipe the blood-drawing area before drawing my blood and left it there when the blood was drawn (she used only one cotton to wipe and afterwards to block the blood from flowing out after withdrawing the needles)

Here are my questions: - What is the likelihood of getting infected this way? Can you say that the possibility is nil? No test is needed? - Can viruses in dried and invisible form (I assume)pass on from the gloves onto the brand-new alcohol-soaked cotton and then to the outlet where my blood was drawn? ( It was at least 5 minutes interval before the cotton was touched) - Is 5 minute long enough for viruses to die, given invisible state with room temperature? - Can alcohol, I don¡t know what types, on the cotton immediately kill HIV virus upon contact? If not, how long? - If the viruses were alive, would it be sufficient in terms of quantity to infect me through the wound? Again, I simply just didn¡t see any visible stain of blood or fluid on the gloves at all. - Does pressing and holding ¡alcohol-soaked cotton that carrying some HIV viruses¡(the cotton is not so soggy) on the wound for 10 minutes kill the virus or allow viruses to get into my bloodstream? (The way most doctors here usually do after every blood drawing to block the flowing).

Sorry I¡m not familiar with medical terms, but I did try my best to describe the situation, hope it¡s understandable.

Bob, this small thing ruins my life already. I talked to people, but no one can give me precise answer. I am desperately in need of the answer.

Regards,

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

"Precise" answers you request and so precise answers I will provide to your six questions:

1. Likelihood of infection: nonexistent. Can I say nil? Absolutely. No test needed? Correct! No test needed.

2. No.

3. In this situation of an essential non-exposure, yes!

4. Yes.

5. No.

6. It would kill the virus.

Your fears are completely unwarranted. You are HIV negative. If you continue to worry, I suggest you seek psychological counseling to help you confront and cope with these totally unwarranted fears. You should be celebrating your negative HIV tests by yelling WOO-HOO, not concocting impossible scenarios of becoming infected through alcohol-soaked cotton or contaminated gloves!

Dr. Bob



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