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transmission through cuts
Oct 7, 2001

About two months ago, I encountered someone who had fallen on a city street, and with the assistance of another person, helped the guy to his feet. He was obviously high on something, and his nose was bleeding rather profusely. Without going into great detail, some of his blood, etc., got on my hands, and I did have an exposed cut. Whether or not his blood got in that area I can't tell, because I quickly wiped my hand on my shirt, it was dark, etc. I had sort of put this out of my mind, but I am getting rather panicky. I do have a wife, and I've found myself avoiding her like the plague. I realize the chances of being infected with ANYTHING are slim, but this guy looked like someone who was on drugs and not very healthy. Zonked out, is the right description. The area where this occurred is also frequented by "all types," including intraveneous drug users (a fact that the local precinct cops verified). I guess I will answer my own question by saying I should get tested, the the thought of that scares the hell out of me. What do you think, doctor?

Response from Mr. Kull

Any time you are exposed to the blood of a person who is of unknown or significant risk, or who is known to be HIV positive, and the blood possibly or definitely came into contact with your mucous membranes or bloodstream, testing is recommended. While the chances of being infected in the episode you describe are very low, it is understandable that you would want to get an HIV antibody test. Unless you had a fresh, open cut where the blood came into contact, HIV would not have been transmitted.

Have you talked with your wife about your concerns? Maybe that would be more helpful than avoiding her like the plague.

RMK



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