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Worried Sick - Help (Reply)
Apr 7, 2010

Hi Dr. Bob,

Thank you very much for your reply and answer. I even appreciate the advice which is not comfortable (talking to my wife).

However, I do have a follow-up. As someone who has never faced this fear before (rational or irrational), how can I be sure that vagina to hand contact is not a risk for HIV infection. If there had been substantial vaginal fluid or blood on my hand, would that have mattered? What about a bleeding cut on my hand? What if I had touched my penis afterwards? Is it impossible to seep through dry cuticles? I am not trying to create unnecessary work for you to respond to this, but like I said, I did not know you or this site existed two weeks ago. I am very impressed with your work and the information provided by this site and am moved to help, but I would kind of like to know the science behind your answer to me, if you would induldge. I hope you will induldge.

Thank you, once again.

-------------- Worried Sick - Help Apr 5, 2010

Dear Dr.,

I recently went to a strip club (USA) and during the experience my hands came into contact with the stripper's vagina. The top of one hand and the fingers and palm of the other. I do have dry cuticles from washing my hands a lot and on the top of the hand that made contact one of my cuticles had torn slightly (size of a papercut) but skin had already healed over it. The skin was red but definitely in tact. I am not even sure this made contact with the woman's vagina. During the experience her g-string was consistently falling or moving to the slide. My fingers never entered her vagina and I never felt any vaginal fluid whatsoever. I know there could have been some. I am not sure if my hands were up near the clitoral area and never made it to the vaginal area. I am not sure. I washed my hands immediately after the experience.

I, of course, do not have any idea if the stripper has an STD, but I am worried sick about the potential of contracting HIV. I am having trouble eating and sleeping. I have a wife and two children and it makes me sick that I could have put them in danger.

Most of what I read suggest there is little risk. Am I at risk?

Thank you so much and I will definitely donate.

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Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Your HIV-acquisition risk is nonexistent. Your fears are irrational and unwarranted. If you haven't already done so, I'd suggest you level with your wife, as it is not only the best way to cope with your guilt; it's also the right thing to do.

Thank you for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's very much appreciated.

Be well. (Yes, you are indeed well.)

Dr. Bob

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

How can be you be sure? One way would be to discuss your risk with an HIV physician specialist. You've done that with me and I've given you my assessment: nonexistent risk! Another way would be to get a single HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark from the date of possible exposure. In your case the test is not medically warranted and the result will undoubtedly be negative; however, if it puts your irrational worries permanently to rest, where they belong, it may be worth the effort psychologically.

I also suggest you read through the information in the archives. There you will find at least a gazillion posts from questioners who had concerns similar to yours. You should find the information in my responses both enlightening and reassuring.

Be well.

Dr. Bob



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