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My case is different, wish to hear your answer(2nd try)
Nov 15, 2007

Dear Doctor,

I am a 39-year-old mother. I have a rectal fissure due to frequent constipation. About Five weeks ago, I saw a colorectal surgeon for this problem. The patient who went to the examination room before me was a HIV+ male who looked unhealthy as well. I was the next patient. I was not sure what to do at that time but I trusted the doctor. The doctor examined the area and performed a digital rectal examination on me using a lubricant. When I left his office, I had a very bad feeling. I was afraid that he had transferred the infection from the previous patient to me. Is it possible that I got the infection thru the rectal exam? I am especially worried about the lubricant. Is it possible that the lubricant was contaminated with the blood or body fluid of previous patient? I didnt see what he did but he first looked at area, touched it, and then used the lubricant to insert the finger. If he had done the same with the previous patient, he might have contaminated the lubricant. I do not know if lubricants are in tubes or in open containers (that doctors dip their fingers into them). I really need your advice. My life is like a hell. I think that if I have the infection, what will happen to my little daughter. Please help me.

By the way, 2 weeks after that appointment, I had minor sore throat and night sweats but I am OK now.

Thanks, Mimi

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Mimi,

Your HIV fears are completely irrational and unwarranted. Period. End of story. Physicians and all health care workers use universal precautions to prevent the spread of HIV and other bloodborne pathogens from patient to doctor, from doctor to patient and also from patient to patient. The only way you could have acquired HIV from the patient who saw the colorectal surgeon prior to you would be by having unsafe sex with him in the waiting room, OK?

If your "life is like hell" over this non-exposure, you should consider seeking psychological help to address your irrational fears and anxiety.

Dr. Bob



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