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handshake
Dec 23, 2012

Dear Doc, Recently I shook hands with an HIV-infected person (I know he's on meds). Later on I realised I had a slightly torn cuticle, not actively or profusely bleeding yet the spot looked kind of raw and sore when I pulled the skin away a bit (before that it didn't hurt at all). I instantly used an alcohol based hand sanitizer to wash my hand and the hangnail. Are there any odds I could contract HIV in such a way if the person had also a cut on his hand? or does the blood have to be really really fresh and the wound-wound contact immediate and involving rubbing? After 9-10 days after the"exposure" I developed a mildly sore throat and some pains in the back muscles and in my left leg muscles. Could it be early ARS or am I simply freaking out? thanks a lot! Lukas

Response from Dr. Wohl

The best reason to answer your post, Lukas, besides assuring you that you are not at risk, is to demonstrate how after some exposure or another (usually with zero risk) people can develop symptoms that, like in your case, are due to "freaking out".

The mind is powerful and we are literally capable of eating our hearts out and worrying ourselves sick.

You have nothing to worry about and once you realize that, I bet your symptoms will vanish.

DW



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