Dear Dr. Bob Frascino,

I just spoke to my dentist because I think I really did something stupid. I explained to you in an e-mail about the Dental Experience I had ,,,,, But now I think I really did something bad.

I explained there was an HIV+ (positive) patient in the other room and you read that dilemma. Now what I did was this. I don't know maybe after 1 minute, 2 minutes ,, it could of even been 5 minutes I went into the room to talk with the man and I turned on the over head light that they use above your mouth. I asked the Dentist what they do as precaution with the lights. He told me that is why there is cellophane over the switch and how the steps they use to be safe. Well ,,, I didn't know that and the patient wasn't finished ,,, I BARE HANDS touched the light a few time and tuned it on a few times without any gloves. Who knows what could of shot out of his mouth onto that light. It could have been anything, saliva, blood, puss, ANYTHING. I touched the light with my bare dry hands that have some starting to heal cuts and scratches. on them from always being wet, cold and dry. What are the chances of catching the HIV virus in this situation? Please Dr. Bob I will Double my donation.

The cellophane was not changed because he was still in the seat. So the light had been touched by gloves that had been in that mans mouth. And to add, What about anything that could of splashed on the lights or the switch out of his. With my Bare Hands Dr. Frascino. Is this any exposure?? Again, His appointment was not done and I touched the lamp and switch a few times. I touched the cellophane bare handed -- no gloves --- nothing. Who knows a while after that I might have put my finger in my mouth, rubbed my eye ,, or even picked inside my nose. What are any chances to catch HIV then????

Please help so I can get a good nights rest,

Thank You,


TERRIFIED -- DENTAL ISSUE -- LARGE DONATION -- Please Dr. Bob Frascino -- Answer this one !! (Submitted Nov 11, 2009)

Dear Dr. Bob Frascino,

I have a two - fold situation and am TERRIFIED.

I went to the Dentist Today and had a teeth cleaning and a little cavity filled. The Dentist infroduced me to a person in another room and I said hello and shook his hand.

Here is my issues -- Please Help.

After talking with this man he proceeded to talk about a lot of different things. One is he is HIV + (postitive). I shook his hands and I have very dry and cracked hands from being in the cold and in water all the time. I have issues around my nails and always have some type of healing cracked areas and dots of scabbed skin due to pulling around on my skin. In this situation --- What are the chances of getting HIV from this man. it didn't get a good look at his hands. Please tell me where I stand with this situation. I don't know the true shape my hands need to be in to not catch anything. I have some healed over areas that are not yet there. Meaning that a little scab may be there but the area still is tender.

#2. After the Dentist workded on him, he changed gloves and worked in my mouth. Right after working on this guy. OMG , Again I am freeking out!!! What chance do I have of catching HIV this way as well. From a Dental Office? He had his hands in this mans mouth and then I was the next patient and then he had his hands in mine. Also, what if something was on his shirt? . Am I going to catch the HIV virus this way?

Do you think I need to Test in either of these situations? I just got a test back a couple weeks ago and I am Negative. I don't know if stress will allow me to wait the period of time I need to re-test.

What are my chances of getting HIV in the aboe situation knowing that this man is HIV+.

Please think of every senario so I can rest and have some peace.

Please foward me the place to DONATE !!

Thank You Dr. Frascino,



Hello Cynthia,

OK, first thing, I want you to take three big cleansing, relaxing yoga breaths. Go ahead, we'll wait.

Next, your HIV risk is completely nonexistent. Repeat after me, "my HIV risk was nonexistent!" OK, now repeat those three big relaxing yoga breaths once agin.

Now let's talk! (I felt I needed to ratchet down your anxiety levels a bit or you wouldn't hear a single thing I was trying to tell you!)

Regarding your three risks:

  1. Risk #1. The risk of HIV transmission from a handshake is nonexistent, unless both of you were actively dripping blood in massive amounts. (Think about one of those trashy horror flicks where hapless teenagers are getting massacred by some homicidal schizoid maniac wielding a machete).

  2. Risk #2. There is nothing to "OMG" about! He "changed gloves." There is absolutely no risk. None, nada, zilch, zero, zip! Likewise, even with "something on his shirt," your HIV risk remains nonexistent.

  3. Risk #3. Touching cellophane-coated light switches or overhead lights or talking with folks who are "virally enhanced" are not risks for HIV transmission. Be reasonable. If HIV were transmitted that easily, it would have wiped out the entire planet years ago!

Unless you had unprotected sex with the positively charged dude in the dental chair (or perhaps the hunky-spunky dentist), your risk of HIV acquisition from any and all the scenarios you mention in your post are completely, totally and absolutely nonexistent.

From this level of completely unwarranted panic, it's obvious you are harboring significant irrational fears of HIV. This is not uncommon. Check out the archives and you'll find you have lots of company. I strongly advise you seek psychotherapy (counseling) to help you confront and hopefully conquer your totally irrational HIV fears.

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. Donation information for the foundation can be found on the foundation's Web site at

Good luck Cynthia. Remember, HIV is not your problem. No way. No how. No HIV testing is recommended or warranted. However, counseling certainly is! I'd also recommend you spend some time (lots of time!) reviewing the wealth of information on this Web site to learn exactly how HIV is and is not transmitted! We have entire chapters on HIV non-sexual transmission and prevention in the archives of this forum

Dr. Bob