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Jul 6, 2010

Dear Doctor,

I have not had a potential sexual exposure to HIV for years, (and after the one time that I did have one, I was tested and came back negative), but recently, I have had several potential non-sexual exposures:

1.) Recently, during my job as a cashier, I had the unfortunate experience of having a customer bleed on me. I had not noticed at first that she was bleeding, but at the end of her order, just as we had finished exchanging money, I noticed that she was carrying a bloody tissue paper in her hand, and a few small drops of blood had gotten on my palm and the top of my middle finger. Obviously, I had also touched the grocery items which she had touched while her hand was bleeding. I did not have any open cuts on my hand (just one very small one that had healed over, and was no longer bleeding), so I am not worried about that. What I am worried about is that I had pimples or cold sores (possibly oral herpes)around my mouth at the time. If I had wiped my mouth with my hand, for instance, or touched my face during this time, and inadvertently transferred blood onto my face, and into contact with these pimples or cold sores (possible oral herpetic lesions), would this be an HIV risk?

2.) Then, at a concert, I foolishly ate a grilled cheese sandwich that the vendors prepared with their bare hands! The sandwich was not fully cooked, and I did not notice any blood or bodily fluid on it, but if one of the vendors had a cut on his hand, for instance, and I ate the sandwich immediately after it was prepared, would this be an HIV risk? I am worried because I know that the inside of the mouth is a mucous membrane, and although I know that my mouth was not bleeding at the time, I had a small bruise on the inside of my mouth at that point.

3.) Again while working as a cashier, I cut my fingers on a sign-post clip while replacing signs hanging from the ceiling. The two small cuts looked a little bit deeper than most cuts on the fingers. I washed my hands right away. About 15 minutes later, I touched a penny (Canadian one-cent coin) that may or may not have had blood on it. At this time, one of the cuts on my hand had stopped bleeding but was not completely dry yet (The other seemed to have fully healed). I can't say for sure whether or not this penny had blood on it, or if so, how fresh the blood was. Does this experience constitute a risk for HIV transmission?

I will make a donation to your excellent organization. Thanks

Response from Dr. Frascino


1. Nope.

2. Nope.

3. Nope.

All three of your concerns are completely unwarranted. HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. HIV testing is not warranted. I would suggest you spend some time perusing the wealth of information on this site, in its archives and on the related links. Pay particular attention to the ways HIV is and is not transmitted. I'm confident you'll find the information enlightening and reassuring.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation ( It's warmly appreciated.

Be well. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

Another lesbian
Is this true?

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