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Is my garbage can exposure infectious (Worried Mother from Singapore)
Sep 14, 2008

Dear Doctor,

God bless you for all of your good work. I am very much impressed the style of your advise with good sense of humour. It certainly brings smile on my face although I am very worried and do not have courage to even look into eyes of my husband and my son.

My exposure is as follows - last night I went downstairs my apartment to throw the litter. I was also carrying important letter, which I wanted to post in the mailbox. By mistake I threw the latter along with the litter in the garbage can and in hurried manner without thinking I put my hand in the garbage can to pick the letter. At this stage all was normal and went ahead to mail the letter. However when I was walking back home the whole world came falling on me when I realised what stupid act I have done. There could be anything in the garbage can and I can get lots of STDs due to them. I immediately checked my hand and found no visible cut - but I did found small (1-2 mm) part of the cuticle skin separated and hanging out from my index finger. I did pluck this part of the cuticle away and it did not bleed. I do not remember being poked by any sharp object in the garbage can but I do not know how did I cut my cuticle. I have gone through the archives and I understand that infected body fluids have to enter ones body to give the infection. I am not sure due to the cuticle rupture can HIV virus enter into my body.

Can I get HIV due to my stupid act? I am vaccinated for HEP B. Doctor, please help I do have small son and loving husband and I am so ashamed of my stupid act.

Thanks and Best Regards Jit

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Jit,

You threw the latter letter in the litter??? Hmm . . . OK, if you say so. (Nice alliteration, by the way!)

Jit, relax. Your STD/HIV risk is essentially nonexistent, even with a nicked cuticle. Gosh, if HIV were that easy to contract, it would have wiped out the entire planet long ago. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. (No McCain. No "I can see Russia from my house" Palin!)

Continue to review the information in the archives of this forum. You should find the information enlightening and reassuring.

Be well. Stay well. (Yes, you are indeed well.)

Dr. Bob



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