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PLEASE - I need your good karma and REASSURANCE!!!
Mar 26, 2009

Hi, Dr Bob -

I've posted here numerous times with no response. I'm hoping you can provide some insight this time around, as I am freaking out, and just some reassurance from you would be helpful.

I was at the store the other day to buy laundry detergent. When I got home with it several hours later, I noticed a reddish-brown smear on the bottle. I hadn't noticed this when I took it off the shelf. Say, if by chance, the smear was HIV infected blood, is there ANY WAY that I could've been infected if I had gotten it on my hand when I picked it up off of the store shelf, and then gotten it into my eye or mouth (mucous membranes, which as I understand it, are means of transmission) if I rubbed my face? I don't recall seeing anyone in the aisle with me at the time, but what if someone had an open, bloody cut on their hand, touched the bottle, gotten blood on it, and had JUST walked away and out of the aisle JUST as I picked it up? Say, all of this happened within a matter of seconds (from the time they got blood on the bottle to it getting on me and then me rubbing my eyes or touching my mouth)? I know this may sound far-fetched, but I need to know if there is even the slightest possibilty that this was a transmission risk; even a theoretical risk???

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

So you want to know if someone had an open bloody cut on their hand and if that someone was HIV positive, and if the HIV-positive actively bleeding person touched a bottle and if that HIV-positive actively bleeding person who touched the bottle had just walked away and out of the aisle just as you walked into the aisle and picked up the same bottle and if you then somehow you transferred the blood to your mouth or eyes and if all of this happened within seconds, would there be "even the slightest possibility" or "even a theoretical risk" you could have contracted HIV. Do I have that correct??? You state that you know this may sound farfetched. What do you mean "may'???? Your hypothetical scenario has so many "ifs" in it that it becomes totally whacko. Your HIV risk is nonexistent. Zero. Zip. Nada. OK? I've answered many similar questions in the past from other nervous nellies and anxious wrecks. (Check the archives.) That's why I didn't respond to your question the first several hundred times you sent it to my mailbox! I'm only responding now because I was afraid you might develop "repetitive stress" injury, like carpal tunnel syndrome from repeated typing and sending this question to me. I also wanted to stop the onslaught into my already impressively overstuffed inbox.

To sum up, your HIV fears are irrational and unwarranted. I would suggest you seek counseling. Psychotherapy could help you confront and conquer these irrational fears (as well as save your joints from injury!).

Dr. Bob



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