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Want to be sure...
Jan 10, 2007

Dear Dr. Francisco,

I know you have answered this query in some of your forums but as you know every scenario is different so I must ask to re-assure myself.

My parents are both HIV+. Some months ago my dad (who is often absent minded) I discovered had been using my toothbrush. Immediately after this discovery I got a new tb. However, soon after I became compounded with fear for the following reasons: - My Dad 'sometimes' bleeds and am not sure if he ever left any blood - Couldn't prove how many times he used my tb - Even tho I have read that the virus doesn't survive long outside the body am not sure if I ever used the tb soon after his use of it - I wasn't sure of the exact date of the incident but roughly I took 2 tests, one at 5/6 wks, another at 11/12wks; but I am not sure if I gave it enuf time especially that I think the entyr route thru the mouth may need longer waiting period before its detected.

PS: Both results were negative but I don't know if I still have cause for concern or should I move on?

Please please relpy I have become obsessed over the whole incident and fear for my life and even believe that I could be a risk to my partner...

Thanks,

Lucy

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Lucy,

HIV transmission via toothbrush would be exceedingly rare, if it happens at all. It's at best a theoretical risk and we advise against sharing toothbrushes, because, well, for one thing it's icky and, for the other thing, there is that very remote theoretical risk. Consequently, I don't believe you have much to worry about, especially with two negative HIV tests out to "11/12 weeks." Finally, no, HIV infection via the mucous membranes of the mouth would not need a longer "waiting time" before anti-HIV antibodies were detectable.

To prevent further confusion, why not keep your toothbrush in its own case in your drawer, away from absent-minded Dad?

Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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