Hi Dr. Bob,
I couldn't find a question quite like this one in the archives, so here goes.
Last friday night, I was at a party. I was slicing a half lemon into quarters on the cutting board, when the knife slipped and cut my thumb. I looked at the cut, which had a bit of watery-looking blood on it, and stuck my thumb into my mouth.
Immediately after that, a friend of mine, who had seen what just happened, picked up one of the lemon quarters I'd sliced and started sucking on it! I motioned for him to put it down, but he said "it's ok!" Foolishly, I let it go.
Now I'm really worried and freaked-out that I could have transmitted HIV or hepatitis to my friend in this way. The last time I was tested was several months ago, and it was negative, and I've been monogamous with the same partner for over 2 years.
I'm just worried I might be carrying something because there have been a few episodes where I got really drunk and don't remember how I got home, or fell off my bike and got really bad scrapes. I have no evidence that I had sex with anyone or was attacked, as I have never had anything stolen or had any of my clothes missing. I've also recently been tested for other STD's and have had negative results.
I'm also concerned about the knife I was using... I just rinsed it off lightly and left it in the sink (I know I should have washed it with soap, but I was drunk and not thinking too clearly.)I don't know if anyone used it after that... I hope not!
Now I'm really freaking out about passing diseases to my friend.... should I have told him to go and get PEP? They probably wouldn't have given it to him, would they?
I called the AIDS hotline and the woman said that the acidity in the lemon would have killed the virus, and that it was unlikely that it would be transmitted to my friend. Is this true?
Please, Dr. Bob, help me out here!
-Worried Chick in Toronto
Hello Worried Chick,
Maybe I'm missing something here, but you are worried about a bloody lemon wedge and/or knife transmitting HIV or hepatitis, because you tested HIV negative several months ago, have been in a monogamous relationship for two years and have also been tested for STDs recently with negative results?!?! And for this you want to know if the lemon-wedge sucker should go get PEP?!?! Hmmm . . . yes, I must be missing something. OK, perhaps you're worried about those few episodes when you got snookered and don't remember how you got home, but have no evidence that you had sex ("no clothes missing"). Hmmm . . . .
Sweetie, I really don't see any significant HIV risk here whatsoever. Certainly PEP is not warranted. What may well be warranted is that:
You should address your alcohol problem.
You should get HIV tested three months after your last blackout if you are concerned about HIV.