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Is a club really just a club?! Super donation to super questions!!
Jan 19, 2009

Here's my situation, Dr. I'm turning 26 this week, and I used to have a wonderful lively life, but for the past 2 years I have had EXTREME HIV anxiety/fear! I have gone so far as to train myself to not use public restrooms..unless desperate! So my fiance wants to take me out clubbing for my birthday, but I'm terrified!!

Here's my fear, is there any risk of transmission at a club?

Like being scratched by a finger nail by a passer by, considering clubs are so jammed packed you can't help but to be extremely close to eachother. I tend to dress in little dressed that expose my skin (only in clubs doc ;)

Or sweat/spit by someone dancing next to you?

Or using the restroom if there may be blood on/in toilet (someone on their period) but I'm sure I wouldn't use the stall in that case!

My fiance is on the verge of leaving me because of these fears, so I don't dare to tell him this! I need your help and promise to donate to your wonderful foundation!

P.S One LAST question. This weekend I had to use a public restroom, and as I was walking into the stall, the cleaning lady said hold on, and stepped in the stall as I was walking in, and said she wanted to clean to trash for me in there. I was still in the stall standing there while she cleaned the trash for me. She wore gloves and grabbed the trash around the toilet, and she left. Is there any risk if she touched the door handle with those dirty gloves then I touched myself? Or any risk just standing there with her considering she could have touched blood with her gloves? There was also pee all around the toilet so I used like 4 seat covers and didn't even sit on the toilet and didn't use toilet paper..is that safe enough to not contract HIV if there was blood from menstrual cycles?

I promise to donate for your humble advice! I love you and everything you do. You have saved me from so many anxiety attacks, and I truly, truly appreciate it!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Is a club really just a club? Yep!

Is there any HIV risk at a club? Sure, if you happen to have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive while bopping to the beat.

Can you acquire HIV by being scratched by a finger nail? Nope.

Can you acquire HIV from sweat or spit from someone dancing next to you? Nope.

Can you acquire HIV from using the restrooms if there is blood on/in the toilet? Nope! (HIV doesn't survive outside the body.)

Can you acquire HIV from the soiled gloves of the person cleaning the restroom stalls? No.

I absolutely agree that you have "EXTREME HIV anxiety/fear." Your problem is not HIV itself, but rather totally irrational and completely unwarranted fear of HIV. I very strongly urge you to seek professional help (psychiatrist or psychologist) to help you confront and hopefully conquer this very real medical problem. If you don't get help, you may well lose more than your fiancé. I also recommend you read through the chapter devoted to non-sexual HIV transmission in the archives of this forum. Many of the issues you raise such as transmission via sweat, spit, nail scratch, public restrooms, etc., are discussed at length.

I would also suggest you openly discuss your fears with your fiancé and advise him you are getting counseling to help you overcome this problem. He needs to know you realize this is a problem and that you are doing something about it.

Good luck and thank you for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Dr. Bob



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