Firstly thank you for providing such a fantastic resource.
Sorry for asking what may be a very paranoid question, but here we go:
I live with HIV+ women and am concerned about coming into contact with traces of menstrual blood left behind on bathroom surfaces such as taps and door handles after changing of sanitary protection. I am concerned that touching these surfaces with open cuts on hands, or touching these surfaces and then touching eyes, shortly after someone may have
used the bathroom to change a tampon etc, could result in transmission. I know that the menstrual blood would need to get into the body for transmission to occur, but I'm not sure how much would be required. What do you think? Thanks.
What do I think? Well, even better, I can tell you what I know! HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. Period. Even if you were using door handles as a dildo, your HIV-acquisition risk would still be nonexistent. The only way you are going to contract HIV from your HIV+ flatmate is to have unsafe sex with her.
I'll reprint some information from the archives below.
New Friends have HIV (HIV TRANSMISSION, CASUAL CONTACT) Jul 30, 2008
My wife met a nice couple and we have been hanging out with them. They told her when they first met that they are HIV positive. I know it is just my ignorance of this disease but I admit I'm a little nervous and I shouldn't be. I know most transfers come from sex and blood contact. I just want to make sure we are safe and learn all I can about this. Are there other things we should be on the lookout for when we are at their house or with them?
Response from Dr. Frascino
You're correct. You're a little nervous, but you shouldn't be!!! HIV is not transmitted by casual contact. See below. Also, check out the archives of this forum. We have an entire chapter devoted to nonsexual HIV prevention.
Enjoy your new friends. Don't let HIV spoil the party.
THANK YOU...you opended my mind (HIV TRANSMISSION, CASUAL CONTACT) Oct 23, 2007
I wrote to you about 3 to four days ago about my fear of contracting hiv by casual contact with my father. Well, I just want to thank you for making me see how wrong and uneducated I was by my behavior and HIV. I know now that with proper percautions I can stay negative but still give the love and support that my dad needs. Yes, if I ever were to contrat the virus I would not like to be descriminated against in any way and specially by my own family. Thank you, for making me understand that HIV is more that a virus...HIV is a virus that inhabits people as me and you. And, this people are heroes for not letting themselves get defested by this disease
Response from Dr. Frascino
I very much appreciate your writing back! I'm delighted you now have a better understanding of what HIV is, what it means to those of us who are infected and how HIV is and is not transmitted. Please "pay it forward" by helping us increase HIV/AIDS awareness in others who may also benefit from such enlightenments. Give your dad a hug from me. OK?
PLEASE RESPOND! I'M OUT OF MY MIND! Oct 18, 2007
My father is a very promiscous man that likes to go to many strip joints and sleep around. He tested positive about 6 months ago and since then I' have lived in total panic. I'm afraid to have casual contact with him. Like every time I give him a kiss on the cheek I freak out if he has a a cut or something. Like today I gave him a kiss on the cheek not notesing that he has a rasor cut on his cheek with dry blood. Or what I think it was dry and I have had chapt lips for a while. So my question is how risky is that? thank you for your time
Response from Dr. Frascino
Let's start with a very basic fact: HIV/AIDS is not transmitted by casual contact. Period! This basic information has been readily available for over a quarter of a century! Your comment, "I'm afraid to have casual contact with him," is alarming and disappointing. It demonstrates once again a significant lack of general and very basic HIV/AIDS knowledge! (I could also point out you have a significant lack of general spelling knowledge as well: promiscuous, not "promiscous;" noticing, not "notesing;" razor, not "rasor;" chapped, not "chapt;" etc., but that's another issue entirely!) I'd suggest you spend less time worrying and being freaked out and more time perusing the wealth of information on HIV/AIDS available on this site, its archives and its related links. I'll reprint some basic information from the archives below.
Your father needs and deserves your love and support, rather than your "total panic," as he copes with the challenges of living with HIV/AIDS. Being excessively judgmental and ill informed is certainly not helpful.
AIDSinfo What You Need to Know About HIV and AIDS
How HIV is Spread
The most common ways HIV is spread are: By having unprotected anal, vaginal, or oral sex with one who is infected with HIV
By sharing needles or syringes ("works") with someone who is infected with HIV
From mothers to their babies before the baby is born, during birth, or through breast-feeding. Taking the drug AZT during pregnancy can reduce the changes of infecting the baby by two-thirds, but will not prevent all babies from becoming infected with HIV.
Earlier in the AIDS epidemic some people became infected through blood transfusions, blood products (such as clotting factors given to people with hemophilia), or organ or tissue transplants. This has been very rare in the United States since 1985, when the test for HIV was licensed. Since then, all donated blood and donors of organs or tissue are tested for HIV. Health care workers, such as nurses, risk getting infected if they are stuck with a needle containing infected blood or splashed with infected blood in the eyes, nose, mouth, or on open cuts or sores. In a few cases, a person sharing a house with a person with HIV infection or taking care of a person with AIDS has become infected themselves. These infections may have been caused by sharing a razor, getting blood from the infected person into open cuts or sores, or some other way of having contact with blood from the infected person. If you are taking care of a person with HIV infection, carefully follow the steps on protecting yourself from infection discussed later.
How HIV is NOT Spread
You don't get HIV from the air, food, water, insects, animals, dishes, knives, forks, spoons, toilet seats, or anything else that doesn't involve blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk. You don't get HIV from feces, nasal fluid, saliva, sweat, tears, urine, or vomit, unless these have blood mixed in them. You can help people with HIV eat, dress, even bathe, without becoming infected yourself, as long as you follow the steps described later in the section on "Protecting Yourself" later in this brochure. You do get other germs from many of the things listed above, so do use common sense.