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Worried, should I be scared?
May 15, 2008

Hi doc, I'm a venezuela 18n years old fan of yours. I've been reading you lately and now I kind of got worried about some stupid situation. I've been kind of Obssesive compulsive lately, so I think it must be that. But please, it CANT STOP worrying me. I think about it every minute (honestly), it really bothers me. The thing is, I gave some coins to a homeless guy and he touched my hand. I don't know if he had blood or semen in his hand just before he touched me... I saw the palm of my hand and there was nothing rare on it. I wiped it with my pants just in case. And well, 10 minutes after that, I ate with my hands, and my hands came in contact with my mouth. My gums might have bled like 35minutes before that (sometimes they do when i brush my teeth, but i think they didnt that day), and I had a little sore on my tongue, and on some side of my lip (that I know, i havent bled in those sores).

I saw my palm, but im not sure if I saw the other side of it. So Im really scared that i might have had blood or semen from the homeless guy. I think I would have seen it or felt it at least... but im getting worried, and its probably about nothing. That was last week and ive been having sore throat and the like... but i know they cant be from that... What are my chances of contracting HIV? Im almost sure there was nothing on my hand (i would have felt it!) but Im obsessed about it... what would have been the risk if i had some of that fluids? Pretty high??

Also, im from a catholic school so my sex-ed sucks... ive been reading a lot, but ive always thought that if you had sex with an hiv positive you would automatically contract hiv... now i read that in penile-vaginal is 5 to 10.000, REALLY far from the almost 100% I thought (i understand it carries a risk, but not as much as i thought). And oral sex 0.5 of 10.000... i thought it was like 50%...

So well, PLEASE doc, clear my doubts... I've asked several times, but i havent lost hope on an answer... PLEASE... THANKS! keep on the good work! THANKS!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Venezuelan Fan,

By reading this forum, you're supposed to get less anxious and worried about "some stupid situation," not more!!!

Your HIV-acquisition risk is completely nonexistent. If HIV were transmitted that easily it would have wiped out the planet long ago!

". . . But I'm getting worried, and it's probably about nothing." BINGO! I absolutely agree!

"Also, I'm from a Catholic school so my sex-ed sucks . . . ." BINGO-BINGO! I once again absolutely agree! It's easy to see why misconceptions like the ones you've been harboring lead to anxiety, stress, obsessive fears, etc. Abstinence-only-until-marriage sex education does indeed suck, and not in a good way, either!

Spend some time perusing the information on this site for scientifically sound advice on life, love, sex, HIV and other unscheduled events!

Get informed. Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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