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Dr. Bob please answer my qustion I'm going off the deep end!!!!!
Jun 16, 2010

I'm a nurse in a long term care facility. I have 15 patients, 2 males all others female patients. All above the age of 80. None of the patients have a dx in the charts of HIV nor are any of them on any anti-HIV meds. I present this info first because: On Thursday, my med nurse asked me to change the trash liner for the trash bag in the nurses station toward the end of an 8 hour shift. Not the biohazard bin. This trash for the most part is filled with water cups, used gloves, paper towels, and snack trash. No vaginal secretions or semen. No noticeable amounts urine or blood. All sharps of course go into a sharps container. And the only two people on blood sugar checks are 2 90 or y/o women. What worries me is this, the role of new trash bags is at the bottom of the basket, as the trash was removed I yanked the new bag from the role, but as I did some minute droplets or more like a few drops of spray of liquid hit the right side of my face near my eye!!!! I tried to examine the role and bag and saw no blood. I dont know if any droplets got in my eye or maybe I didn't feel it. I surmise the liquid must be from water from the drinking cups throughout the shift that made it's way through the bag. So my questions are: 1.) that trash is a hostile environment for HIV right?( I know there is no exact number on time frame, but a few minutes give or take) 2.)Is it weird for me to assume that some of my residents can be HIV positive, but still be stable despite not being on HIV meds or not Dx and being 80-90 years old? 3.) I'm almost 99.9999% certain the (scarce amount of droplet that may or may not have hit my eye isn't blood, if it was-worst case scenario, if it is am I at risk? 4.) Does this situation warrant testing? 5.) Are my worries warranted? Dr. Bob, please answer as I no one else to ask. Everyone thinks I'm being nutso for even worrying about this. I implore you to answer, as I will gladly make a donation to your foundation. ( I wish we can just pay you to answer.) Please help a fellow health care worker in need!!!!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

1. Yes.

2. Yes, it's illogical and unreasonable.

3. No.

4. No.

No.

You're not nutso; at least not yet. You're just overly worried. The scenario you describe constitutes a completely nonexistent risk for HIV. Neither worry nor HIV testing is warranted, OK?

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob



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