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Very worried, blood in corner of eye

Mar 29, 2008

Dear Doctor,

I have read answers to some "blood drops in the eye" questions and some say they aren't at all at risk and others say to get tested. Here's my story. I was at the Medical Examiner's office watching an autopsy on an AIDS-infected prisoner. I was in full PPE, but I made a stupid mistake. I touched the corner of my eye with my gloved hand. When I looked at my finger I noticed a sort of "smear" of blood about less than a centimeter long on the tip of my finger. It was dry at this point and stained but I have no idea if it was wet when going near my eye. It had to have been only about 3 microliters of blood at most when wet. But anyway, if the blood was dry before going near my eye, which I would assume it was, how much of a chance do I hold of having contracted HIV? Just a side note: The ME said they let the body sit for a day or two when they autopsy an HIV/AIDS-infected person. Please help. I'm so worried and I have anxiety attacks every time I try to go get tested. Thank you so much in advance.

Response from Dr. Frascino


Relax Max. Your HIV risk is nonexistent. First of all, if the cadaver was several days old, that would negate any HIV risk. Next, three microliters of blood on your glove that "touched the corner of (your) eye" would not be considered an HIV exposure. I see no cause for concern or HIV testing. However, I am concerned about your "anxiety attacks" every time you try to get tested. These irrational fears can cause significant psychological problems going forward. I would suggest you seek help from a psychologist to address your irrational fears of HIV.

Good luck.

Dr. Bob

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