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brown saliva in wash room
Jul 18, 2001

i was washing my hands in a public restroom and i saw near the faucet knob a brown thing which looked like saliva. im not sure if i touched it but i know that i dripped water over it to somehow wash it off. i have small cuts in my finger. could i contract HIV through this incident? also, i have a question on exposure to HIV, does exposure to high-risk HIV incidents translate to getting the virus? please cite medical cases.

i am so scared of getting HIV. it has affected my day to day life and im scared to even touch anything for fear of contracting the virus. please answer my questions. i really need to hear answers. i dont know what to do.

Response from Mr. Kull

You are not at risk for HIV infection. There is no evidence that anyone has ever been infected through casual contact (like washing hands in a public restroom). See the CDC's sheet "Frequently Asked Questions about HIV/AIDS Transmission" (http://www.thebody.com/cdc/faq/transmission.html).

Your statements about being scared about HIV infection and your fear that touching anything might lead to infection--to the point that the worry interferes with your day-to-day life--may suggest that your issues are more about anxiety than HIV infection. Anxiety disorders are the most prevalent form of psychiatric problems experienced by people in the United States. Psychiatric and psychotherapeutic treatments are often successful in relieving the symptoms of anxiety. The National Institute of Mental Health (http://www.nimh.nih.gov/anxiety/anxietymenu.cfm) has some useful information about anxiety and anxiety disorders in the United States.

This is nothing to be ashamed of--get treatment if you need it!

RMK



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