Scared Sick because I preformed CPR on a full blown Aids Victim

Question

Hello, I have been scared out of my wits since July. I came upon an accident and preformed cpr on a non responsive man. I did the breaths and also used a cpr mask for protection. The victim did not survive and I found out after all was said and done that the victim had full blown aids when his male companion arrived on the scene.

There was no exposure of blood or body fluids. I used the cpr mask but it was very hot out that day and I was sweating very bad. Especially on my hands where I was holding the cpr mask in place over the victims mouth. I did not wear gloves as there were none avaliable to use and I know that my hands must have touched his face several times.

The EMT that finally got on the scene advised me to go to the ER right away.

When checked at the ER I was told that my chances were very low but was advised to take the PEP treatment. I took a 10 day course of pills which cost me $650.00 and made me so sick that I thought I was going to die. Not to mention that I had just been diagnosed with a case of Shingles the week before all this took place and was taking steriods and hydrocone for pain.

Although I was told that my chances were almost non-existant and I did take the PEP treatment. I keep having nightmares over this.I am scared out of my wits. The shingles only broke out on my left foot and lower leg. Very few sores. However, both of my legs ache and hurt all the time. It's been over three months since the shingles sore healed and will be three months on Monday since exposure to the Aids victim.

Every little sore or ache that I get sends me into a panic. My anxiety and fear level is beyond control every day. I just can't understand why both my legs hurt all the time when the shingles was only on my left leg. They tell you that the pain can last for many months after the sores are gone but only effects the side of the body on which the shingles sores broke out because it follows certain nerve paths.

I'm terrified and have been using protected sex with my husband of 36 years since this happened.

When and/or should I go get a HIV test? What are my chances of contacting HIV? Why are both of my legs still aching and hurting? Cold this be symptoms of HIV?

Please answer....I'm scared out of my mind!!

Answer

Hello,

CPR via a mask is not a risk for HIV transmission/acquisition. HIV is not transmitted via sweat. PEP was not warranted. Your fears are unwarranted. Had you been evaluated or followed by an HIV physician specialist (which is always recommended for anyone started on PEP), he would most likely have discontinued your PEP. Had PEP been warranted for a significant HIV exposure, the guidelines for post-PEP HIV screening recommend HIV-antibody tests at four to six weeks, three months and six months from the date of exposure.

Your post-herpetic (shingles) neuralgia (pain) is quite typical in the affected area. Your other symptoms are most likely anxiety related ("My anxiety and fear level is beyond control every day" . . . "I'm scared out of my mind.") I'd recommend you seek help for your anxiety (anti-anxiety medication and/or psychotherapy).

I'm extremely confident your definitive HIV tests will be negative.

Good luck. Thanks for being a good samaritan. By the way, we no longer use the term "full blown AIDS," as there is no such thing as "partially blown AIDS."

Dr. Bob