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medical student with important question
Mar 28, 2011

Hi Dr. Bob,

Thank you for always answering our questions and making us feel better. I have a question for you. I am a medical student and am now doing my rotation in general surgery. Even before I started my rotation, I felt a little uneasy about HIV and bloodborne infections, and have always worried a little more than the average person about these infections.

There have been a couple of times where I have been in surgery doing various procedures, and following the surgeries when I go to wash my hands I notice a little bit of blood on my hands and a small wound. When this has happened, I did not feel a needle stick or a prick with a sharp object, but my mind immediately starts working and I worry that maybe I unintentionally pricked myself without feeling it very much (since this tends to happen over my knuckles, where the skin is dry and thick).

I have spoken to the nurse at occupational health about these incidences, but she has reassured me that I would have felt a prick if there was one, so she did not want to follow up on these incidences.

Please help me out and tell me what you think about them. I'm anxious that I could have gotten HIV through blood-blood contact. Please answer me, I will be so grateful, and regardless, I am donating now to your chairty for all you do. Thanks so much

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Medical Student,

I agree with the occupational health nurse: your fears are unwarranted. Such fears are a bit worrisome, considering your chosen career. Talk to your medical school advisers. Counseling might help you confront and conquer these irrational fears.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org). It's very warmly appreciated. In return I'm sending you my good-luck/good-health karma that you are now and will forever be HIV free.

Good luck! Be well.

Dr. Bob



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