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HOUSKEEPER BLUES
Apr 9, 2004

Dear Nancy , I was diagnoised with hep b virus .I was working as a housekeeper at a 4 star hotel and it should of been a no star it was filthy .It was a party hotel for rich & poor .I had picked up bloody rags and towels with no gloves on .Nobody told me of the danger of hep b .I knew about hiv and you would have to have sex to get that with blood in it .I cleaned under the toilet rims that no other housekeeper ever did & the toilet rims were always covered with urine .I over cleaned everything . Also I picked up several needles I think I contracted the b virus at work .Could that be possible ?The doctors I have seen said no it was someone who I had sex with that used needles .But I dont take any drugs or drink , or anyone else I have had sex with .please help ?

Response from Ms. Breuer

I'm sorry that you've received this unhappy surprise. Here's the information that can help you understand whether you contracted hepatitis B at work:

1. Hep B travels the same routes that HIV does, but is more likely to be transmitted by those routes because it is a more hardy virus. 2. Urine does not transmit either virus. 3. Blood on towels is unlikely to have been a risk to you unless it was fresh blood and you were working with open cuts on your hands. Still, because towels are absorbent, the risk of contracting hep B that way appears quite low to me. 4. For the needles to have infected you, you would have to have been pricked by the needles, and they would have to have had blood in their syringes.

You cannot know for sure, but you sure can drive yourself crazy wondering what exposure led to infection. However, since you now have your diagnosis, I heartily encourage you to focus on taking good care of yourself rather than on how you became infected. Unfortunately, we don't always know whether someone we've had sex with has used drugs or has had sex with someone who had hep B. Please focus now on your care.



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