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Medical student HIV blues

Apr 25, 2010

Hi Dr Bob,

I'm a third year medical student who recently started clinical rotations. About a month and a half ago I was asked to interview a patient with a stoma who was HIV and HCV positive. I just spoke to him, had a look at his stoma which he kindly showed me and handed him his tv remote from near his drip. So the issue here is that the intern in charge of me did not tell me he was HIV and HCV positive until after I had happened to go and eat my dinner that night without washing my hands. I was wondering if there was any risk of transmission given the fact that he had a stoma and this may have increased risk of transmission?

The medical student who is afraid of sick people

Response from Dr. Frascino


Your HIV and hepatitis C acquisition risks are nonexistent.

I'm more concerned about your sign off: "The Medical Student who is afraid of sick people." Hmm. That doesn't bode well for your future career in medicine. I would suggest you get psychotherapy (counseling) to ascertain if your fears are going to be a serious impediment to your career. People who are afraid of heights shouldn't become airline pilots, just as folks who are afraid of sick people shouldn't become health care providers.

Dr. Bob

Problem With Acceptance
HIV positive - question about life expectancy (LIFE EXPECTANCY, 2010) (PROGNOSIS, 2010)

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