Faeces + HIV transmission

Question

Hi,

I apologize in advance, because this is kind of disgusting. But I'm worried enough to ask you about it.

It happened when I was making out with a girl I'd met for the first time that evening. She was still wearing clothes, and I put my hands down the back of her pants, inside her underwear. To my surprise, I felt something sticky and pulled my hands out. When I sniffed my fingers, it became obvious this girl hadn't wiped herself properly (or at all) since her last (heavy-duty) visit to the bathroom! That pretty much put a damper on things and we didn't go any further!

I washed my hands with soap and water, for obvious reasons. But now I wonder if there is any risk of catching HIV this way. Could there have been any blood from her side? I didn't see any. I also didn't have any visible cuts or abrasions on my fingers.

I've checked the archives, but haven't found anything like this - perhaps nobody else has been unlucky enough to hook up with somebody who doesn't know even the basics of personal hygiene. Rimming seems the closest analogy, and I'm aware there are no documented cases of HIV transmission that way. Even so, I would really appreciate your reassurance about the risk in this case.

I'd also like to thank you for this forum. There is so much hysteria sounding HIV, but you are a rare source of common sense and good advice. It's truly impressive.

I read somewhere that more is known about HIV than about any other virus. Is this true? HIV affects a huge number of people and is something that nobody can ignore, but there are other diseases, such as malaria and Hepatitis B, that affect even more people. So why is it that HIV, more than any other disease, provokes so much fear, especially irrational fear (I'm probably a case in point myself, hence this posting)? I'd be interested to hear your view about this.

Thanks so much - even if you don't get time to answer my posting.

Answer

Hi,

Yup, I agree . . . kind of disgusting. However, your HIV risk from making out with Winnie the "Poo" is nonexistent.

HIV has always been a highly stigmatized illness. Its two-plus-decade history is a litany of fear, ignorance, hysteria, denial and apathy. Toss into the mix sex, I.V. drugs, gays, religious condemnation and no vaccine and no cure, and you wind up with irrational fears. To get a historical perspective, try watching these films:

  1. Angels in America
  2. Longtime Companion
  3. And the Band Played On
  4. Common Threads.

Stay well.

Dr. Bob