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HIV infection risk from tainted medical ointment?
Sep 1, 2013

Hi, I'm having hemorrhoid and anal fissure treatment at a Traditional Chinese Medicine clinic where the doctors use forceps to insert ointment coated swabs into the anal canal. I think that occasionally the instrument is dipped into the ointment after being inserted in the anus. Is it possible for the HIV virus to survive in the ointment from a previous patient long enough to infect me as my anal fissure is an open cut? Patients are often treated within 5-10 minutes of each other. Thank you.

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi HIV begins to die once it leaves the body and becomes unable to infect. The risk of HIV transmission happening during this procedure is extremely low to no risk at all. There would have to be a significant amount of blood in the ointment that would be seen by the health care provider. HIV transmission occurs when there is prolong and direct exchange of body fluid. This does not occur with the treatment that you experienced and once again HIV begins to die once it is outside of the body and is unable to infect.

Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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