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Razors and vomit and junkies, oh my!
May 15, 2012

Hi Dr. Wohl

Perhaps my question is dumb and/or paranoid, but Ive found myself growing worried about the possibility of HIV transmission in two different scenarios. Hopefully you can help.

First one: My boyfriend lives with his little brother. His brother has a buddy stay over sometimes to play video games and hang out. I just found out that this buddy is somewhat of a junkie; he is a former cocaine addict and gets drunk a lot. I know that you cant get HIV from casual contact, but my boyfriends little brother gets a lot of cuts on his hands at work and Im worried that if the junkie has HIV he could transmit it to him via these cuts if he were to bleed. Consequently, and heres where it gets really convoluted, Im worried about the potential of my boyfriend getting HIV from his brother (via the junkie) if he shares a razor with him (or if the junkie were to use the razor without anyone knowing, for that matter). They only have one shower, and Ive only ever seen one razor in there, although I believe his brother also has a fancy, self-cleaning electric razor on the counter. I contacted MAP (Minnesota AIDS Project) and they told me to put it from my mind; that, realistically, theres no risk in sharing a razor because one would have to nearly instantaneously share it, as in passing it directly from one person to another, in order for the virus present to remain infectious, since it cant survive outside of the body. In addition, they said that the hot water in the shower would render the virus inactive, if the exposure to oxygen and/or time didnt already do so. My question is, was the information MAP gave to me (from two separate MAP councilors, no less) correct? Can I stop worrying about this? My boyfriend says that he always rinses his razor off before he uses it, and he doesnt even know if his brother uses or has ever used it. He says Im being silly; that hes not going to get HIV this way. Am I? Im very worried.

Second (and this may be really out there, apologies in advance): I was at a party where one of my buddies got really slammed and threw up in a pitcher. Gross, I know. About twenty minutes later, I was eating some tasty nachos, and the helpful host came back with the pitcher, which he had just rinsed off (rather poorly) in the yard with a hose. He presented it aloft like some lame Olympic torch of garage parties, and some droplets of water splashed off of it. I then ate another nacho, and the cheap, florescent yellow cheese tasted vaguely off, bittersweet. Im worried that some of the vomit-tinged water on the rinsed pitcher could have splashed into my nacho cheese before I ate it. I had a painful cut on my gums from brushing too hard, so if there was any blood in his vomit and he had HIV, would it be possible for the vomit-water that may have entered my cut to infect me? I didnt see any blood in the vomit initially, and it was twenty minutes between him barfing and the pitcher getting rinsed off and potentially splashing in my cheese. Was this a risk?

Thanks is advance for your knowledge, a weirdo spaz such as myself really appreciates it!

Response from Dr. Wohl

None of these scenarios risks HIV transmission. You should break down and buy the bros a pack of disposable razors. Say it is a Memorial Day present. They will love you for it.

You can not get HIV from a nacho. No how, no way.

DW



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