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blood on sink in airplane
Jun 3, 2009

Dear Dr.Bob and Dear All, I work as a flight attendant and have not found a similar question asked. In checking the toilets I took some tissues to wipe the mirror and sink to clean them and on the sink I noticed a red stain which came off when I wiped it with the tissue paper. I am concerned if that was blood and if it was HIV-positive blood whether it could be transmitted via the tissue paper to a wound on the hand. Stupidly enough I did not wear gloves as I thought tissue paper is enough protection. Just a last note that toilet had not been occupied for at least 3-4 minutes before I entered to check and clean it.

Would appreciate an answer and a suggestion of how to donate from Europe to your foundation. Wish you well and happy month,

a worried flight attendant!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Worried Flight Attendant,

Relax Max! Your HIV-acquisition risk is essentially nonexistent. HIV does not survive long outside the body. Plus, the tissue paper would most likely soak up the blood. The chances of your transferring an adequate amount of fresh HIV-tainted blood to an open (actively bleeding) wound would be so remote that they become essentially nonexistent.

Now that we have that issue solved, tell me what airline you work for. A restroom on a plane that wasn't occupied for at least three to four minutes? That's amazing. Seems like on every flight I take there is a line at least five deep. Since it's unlikely all these folks would need to pee 10 minutes after take-off, I can only assume they must be new inductees to the "Mile-High Club" (which I joined many years ago).

Stop worrying, OK? Besides, the enormous woman squeezed into the middle seat in row 26 has her call light on. Apparently she wants more pretzels.

Regarding donations to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation, donation information can be found on the foundation's Web site at www.concertedeffort.org. Thanks for your willingness to help others in desperate need.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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