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Possible Exposure in an Occupational Setting. Please help!
May 14, 2012

Dear Doctor Wohl,

I was working in a social assistance setting when a man fell over and began to vomit. I had some gloves so I slid them on and picked him up while when of my coworkers went for help. Anywhere between five and ten minutes later I totally lapsed out and rubbed my eye because of an annoying itch. I wasn't even thinking.

I went to my own Healthcare professional and he assured me there was no risk of transmission. Maybe I'm just naturally worried but I found this site and decided there's no harm in asking a question. Do you think from what I've described there's any risk of exposure to HIV or anything else? I looked at my gloves before and afterwards and couldn't see any vomit or fluid on them but I suppose that doesn't mean anything. I've heard a small volume exposure is considered a few drops and this likely wouldn't have even been that. Plus there was also some time between the possibility of my touching any fluids and touching my eye.

Am I just a worry wart? Please let me know.

Response from Dr. Wohl

In this case a good deed does indeed go unpunished. You are not at risk. First of all who knows if this person was HIV+ or positive for anything other than some bad macaroni salad. Second, stomach contents are harshly acidic and not hospitable to HIV. Third, the exposure volume was miniscule. So, no worries. Really. DW



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