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Just Donated to RJFAF, can you help me please?
Nov 18, 2009

Doctor,

I just donated to your Foudation and I was hoping you could answer my question.

I shower at the gym a lot (more than at home) in downtown NYC. Lately, I have had athelete's foot and some skin peeling and redness. On the front 2-3mm below nail line the edge of my toes (next to the big one) I have very small healing cut (maybe 0.5x2mm) from peeling some of the scaling skin a bit too much that I don't believe was bleeding but I am not sure. I also have other peeling red but not bleeding athelete's foot on my toes.

After the experience, I squeezed the toe cut a it and could not draw any blood. On the kleenex, there was a little clear fluid the size of maybe pinhead where the scab was.

After showering recently, I had a panic attack because I fearful that I possibly contracted HIV. I know men in my gym likely often 'relieve' themselves in the private showers stalls at times, meaning semen could easily be on the floor. I didn't see any blood (whcih likely would have scared me and I would not have gotten in.)

I am scared and sadly, some of my fear my have something to do with the fact that 50% of the men at my gym are gay and maybe at greater risk. My mother is a gay woman, so please understand that I am not a homophobe (the law passed in my home state of Maine recently disgusts me) but since gay men are the highest risk group this heightens my fears.

Is there a risk for exposure and infection in this scenario? Would this merit testing or am I being paranoid/OCD-like?

Thank you so much for your great work.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your fears are unwarranted. HIV testing is not medically indicated. I'd suggest you get your athlete's foot treated and wear flip-flops or shower sandals while using the communal showers.

Be well. See you at the bench press!

Dr. Bob



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