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less worried flight attendant!!
Jun 12, 2009

Dear Doctor,

Million thanks for your two replies and also for your clarification on the 'Mile' Club!! Indeed it has become extremely difficult due to the size of toilets and ofcourse the fact that more and more people do not look after their weight!!-the amount of alcohol and food consumption on board surprises me still!! Your reply on my worries gave me the necessary peace to regain realism however before I say goodbye from the forum I would like to ask one final question please, ie: In my profession as well as in other I am sure, we touch often non-hygiene environmental surfaces eg toilet sinks, galley tops, garbagge trolleys to name the few and would occasionally rub our eyes or mouth or sometimes touch the inside of the nose without using always a napkin or having washed hands after every single touch. Now in all our Avmed training we are always told that HIV cannot be contracted via the environment, even when present on a surface eg blood, however when one lookes at answers in the forums, especially for nose pickers!!(not a fan but sometimes it happens), you would always refer to a minimal-to-zero risk and never to an absolute zero risk. May I kindly ask you why the 'minimal' and whether I can rely on the 'zero' as a definite answer for contact with HIV on surfaces and then via hand transmitted in nose/mouth/eyes?

By the way I have seen your site and was amazed! My other half is, too, a musician and a flight attendant and we were both touched with your story, your vision and your generosity-same stands for your other half, too. When we balance our finances we will send a small donation to support the whole effort. We, too, are members of a charity against Malaria.. Indeed when your names appear on our passenger lists we will do everything possible to upgrade you! Just fly on one of the very big European airlines (not the low-cost ones) when your travels bring you next to our continent- we will keep an eye and hope to welcoming you on board soon.

Many thanks in advance for clarifying what i have asked-I promise I will not be of bother again with my recent worries even if your answer does not put them to rest-an HIV-test will then do so although I had promised to stop testing after my monogamous partnership.

Waiting to hear from you when you get a chance,

All the best, was worried-hopefully not anymore-flight attendant

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Not-Worried-Anymore Fly Guy,

Fly Guy, are you back again? OK, one last question!

Your "Avmed training" is absolutely correct! HIV cannot be contracted via casual contact such as touching environmental surfaces!

Why are you so interested in nose pickers? (Ick!) The risk even for those who seem addicted to digging bats out of caves (chronic nose pickers) is nonexistent. OK? Nasal mucous does not transmit HIV. The only possible extenuating circumstance would be if someone had a significant and active nosebleed and managed to get an HIV-infected fluid into the wound. (Double ick!)

Your worries about contact with dirty environmental surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth, eyes or even deep picking your nose are completely unwarranted, OK?

Thanks for the potential upgrade!

Now stop worrying. It's time to get the beverage card ready!

Be well. Fly safely. Don't pick your nose.

Dr. Bob

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

worried flight attendant Jun 7, 2009

Dear Dr.Bob,

Thank you most kindly for your answer. I was starting to get a bit worried because 12 days after the incident in the toilet wiping the blood stain with tissue paper and no gloves on I developed a mild sore throat and a temperature of 37.5 for 2 days plus muscle pains-not sure if that worries you, too, and if you think a test is warranted. I am in a monogamous partnership, have had my HIV tests when needed in the past but not sure if one more is needed based on that incident. 'High-mile club'??? not sure i got that but true that toilets are so much occupied!!!! pretzels heavily consumed, too!!! Thanks for the info on donation! Regards,

Flight attendant-worried still!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Still Worried Flight Attendant,

The additional information about your mild sore throat, muscle pains and low-grade temperature elevation 12 days after your "incident" does not change my assessment of your level of HIV risk, nor my recommendation to not worry. The only reason to consider HIV testing remains peace of mind. The results will unquestionably be negative, but if it helps you to put your fears permanently to rest, it may be worth the time and effort.

As for the mile-high club, it refers to folks who mange to have sex during flight. (This was quite popular a number of years ago.) It's become more challenging in recent years, as the restrooms have gotten progressively smaller and people's butts, progressively and impressively more expansive.

Be well. Stay well. (Yes, you are indeed well.) And once you realize it, how about bumping me up to first class???

Dr. Bob



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