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Help the Janitor!
Mar 27, 2014

Hey Dr. Wohl,

I work in a Hospital as a Janitor. No injection drug use, hetrosexual male in a relationship with a female for four years now. Tested negative before we got serious as we have unprotected sex. About three years ago a patient had a feces/vomit spill on the floor which I was called in to clean up. When I got there the nurses were actually remaking the mans bed and one asked me if I'd mind holding onto his shoulder just to keep him steady. Sure no problem. He was pretty sweaty but didn't look like he was covered in anything..and besides I was only holding onto his shoulder...anyways I wiped my eye afterwards.

A little over a week later my armpits started to itch and so did the inside of my thigh. I felt like I had a bit of a flu, which was going around at the time, and went to see my doctor. No swollen lymph nodes were found and I told him what happened and he told me if the patient did have hiv I wasn't at risk.

Now about a year ago after a minor chest cold a small lump became noticeable on the left side of my neck. You can feel it but not see it and its never been painful. I've pressed on it before and it feels like it drains liquid. I've consulted my doctor and he says it's a lymph node but that it's not large and doesn't seem abnormal.

OK now I am kind of freaking out though. Do you think I am at any risk of hiv and does this sound like an hiv symptom? I was told lymph nodes are generalized with the illness but only one seems noticeable on me.

Thanks, Tim

Response from Dr. Wohl

Dear Tim

There is no way in the world the episode you describe would transmit anything at all to you let alone HIV. This virus is not spread by casual contact. If it were, billions, not millions would be infected.

As you work in a health care setting it is good to know about how blood borne infections are spread. Check out the CDC website for info on HIV, HBV and HCV. I think it will help.

DW



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