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Risk of infection from paper cut on x-ray?
Nov 2, 2005

I would like to know if there is any risk for infection with HIV from a paper cut sustained from an x-ray I received via mail. The envelope was sealed in a delivery bag and was not opened for at least a few weeks. I cut it open with scissors and felt a terrible pain realizing I just received a paper cut! Very painful as you can imagine. The paper cut bled and to my shock and horror I saw the x-ray and started panicking-What if there was some germs on the x-ray!

Of course common sense does prevail sometimes and I realized that IF there was blood on the x-ray, this would have dried by now and therefore posed no risk of infection at all, seeing as the envelope was sealed for weeks. The person who placed the x-ray in the envelope also exposed it to air before placing it in the envelope and therefore IF there was any blood this too was exposed to air- and therefore another excellent reason why IF blood was present this would have dried and the HIV virus would have died along with it!

I do suffer from OCD and I have been having HIV-related fears for almost 6 months now.

I have been working on conquering my fears- and I have had similiar episodes about virtually every little situation related to contamination fear. Of course when you actually do cut yourself and bleed on something the danger alarms do tend to sound louder and louder than ever!

I do however not want to live my life with contstant fear of contamination and HIV!!!! It is awful to say the least. I cannot run to the Doctor each and everytime I cut myself on an envelope or x-ray to get tested for HIV or to get PEP- what hellish nightmare would my life become then!

I believe I took the correct steps by cleaning my paper cut with disinfectant- I emptied a little bottle onto the cut, rinsed it under warm water and put on a band-aid. Surely this was prudent action on my behalf????? What more can we do!

I guess this answers my question, but I would VERY VERY much appreciate your reply anyways, as I found your answers to other people here highly informative and helpful.

Drown yourself in information to end fear and anxiety!

I congratulate you on this excellent site!


Response from Ms. Breuer

It sounds to me as though you managed your paper cut well, and are managing your OCD well by confirming your approach with us. You're right on every count--HIV cannot sustain exposure to oxygen. Paper cuts are not a source of HIV transmission. And if it's further reassurance: no well-informed ER doc would prescribe PEP in response to this kind of exposure.

Disinfectant, yes, or just soap and water if no disinfectant is available. Soap and water and some energetic hand-washing can keep you safe in these situations.

Please take a deep breath and remind yourself that you're mastering this fear, okay?

Graduate School
HIV+ Massage Therapist

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