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Please help me, I am really worried!
Sep 18, 2001

I have a queery on whether an incident that I will describe can cause me to be infected with HIV. Can you help me please?

Just 2 nights ago, I was bitten several times by mosquitoes. I had like 9 bites on my arm alone. I finally managed to spot a mosquito biting me on my arm and I slapped at it, killing it. I remember that there was no visible blood on my palm after I slapped the bug, but there was a wet and cold feeling on my palm. I am not too sure about whether there was blood on my palm, as there was poor lighting and I couldn't see very well. I cleaned the dead bug off with tissue paper and gave it a light squeeze to make sure the insect is truly dead. I wasn't able to wash my hands immediately after killing the mosquito as no water was available then. I really regret that I wasn't more persistent in looking for water to wash my hands as a short moment after killing the insect and not washing my hands after doing so, I inspected the part of my arm that had the numerous bites left behind by the mosquito with my hand that I had earlier used to kill the mosquito. Then I was suddenly overcome by this horrifying thought: What if there had been someone else's infected with HIV blood in that mosquito as it was biting me and I killed it, getting infected blood on my palm which I had not washed and then proceeded to touch my arm with mosquito bites on it. What if the HIV on my palm entered my bloodstream via the punctures left behind on my skin by the mosquito as it bit me? Wouldn't I become infected with HIV this way? On thinking about this, I checked the tissue paper containing the dead bug. I was appalled to find blood stains on it. This could only mean that there had been blood when I smashed the insect after all, and it has gotten onto my hands without me seeing it at first as the lighting was not good and I don't know if it is my own blood or someone else's. Or hopefully, it can mean that the blood didn't ooze out of the insect until I squeezed it in the tissue. But what is the first scenario is th case? I would have gotten somebody's infected with HIV blood onto my palm without my knowledge and I unwittingly allowed the HIV into my body via the punctures left by the bites when I absent mindedly touched the bitten areas with that very palm I used to squash the mosquito!

Response from Ms. Breuer

Good news. When you smash a mosquito and find blood in the smashed remains, it's YOUR blood. Please relax about this. And please learn more about HIV. You can start with this website and then explore. You'll find that all the responsible websites agree overwhelmingly: Mosquitoes have nothing to do with HIV transmission.

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