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Will donate, PLEASE, Is there an occupational risk?

Nov 3, 2009

I work in the emergency department at a hospital as a registrar. My job includes receiving patient's into the computer for treatment, registration, insurance-- no clinical or medical. My contact with patients is limited and is as follows: placing armbands on them, allowing them to use my pens and clip boards to sign consent forms. No other touching. I on occasion have papercuts and small scratches. I can not recall blood getting on any of my cuts, however I have OCD and the fear that it has consumes my life. On one occasion I saw a tiny drop of blood which was the size of the asterisk on the computer key board. It was on my index finger, I saw no cut just a little bit of peeling. I immediately washed it off with sanitizer. On another occasion, I received an EVAC patient who had chest pains. When I put on his armband my fingers briefly touched his arm. He had purple spots on his arms and dry looking skin. I didnt think much about it, but later when I was getting his info he told me he needed to tell the nurse he had HIV. Can I get HIV from my brief contact with him? Is my small cuts/papercuts something to worry about? I dont engage in any other risk such as sexual or drug related. Please let me know. Thank you for all you do. Your knowledge and information is a blessing to individuals like me who suffer from OCD related to disease. Thanks!

Response from Dr. Frascino


The HIV-acquisition risks from the incidents you describe are completely nonexistent. If HIV were transmitted that easily, it would have wiped out the entire planet long ago. There is no doubt your problem is OCD, not HIV. Working in an emergency department could certainly be exacerbating your OCD-related irrational fears of HIV. I would suggest you seek counseling (psychotherapy) to help you confront and conquer your irrational HIV fears. In addition, I'd recommend you read through the archives of this forum for a better understanding of exactly how HIV is and is not transmitted.

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation.

Be well.

Dr. Bob

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