HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
Evaluation of "Exposure"
About This Forum:

This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

Font Size:
A
A
A
Background:
Blank
Blank
Blank
This expert forum is not accepting new questions. Please post your question in one of our medical support communities.
Blank Blank

Evaluation of "Exposure"

Doctors,

Thank you for your time in advance.  Two days ago, I bought fast food and when I got home to eat it about 5 minutes later, I noticed several dark smudges on the inside of the wrapper holding the food.  The spots appeared to be some type of thick substance (still somewhat in liquid form) and were brownish/blackish in color.  But, as I have battled with an HIV phobia/OCD over the last several months, I fear that these smudges were actually someone's blood that was in the process of drying out.  

Nevertheless, to alleviate my anxiety, I attempted to smell one of the smudges to see if it was BBQ sauce but could not detect an odor.  Shortly thereafter, I threw the food away without eating any of it at which time I got some of the substance on my right finger; therefore, I washed my hands briefly under the sink with SoftSoap.  I then immediately shook my right hand to rid excess water when I felt water from that hand splash onto my face/eyes.  My questions are as follows:

(1) Can blood have a brownish/blackish color when it is still somewhat in liquid form and assuming its only been outside the body for 5-10 minutes?  How long does it retain its typical red/dark red appearance prior to oxidizing?

(2) Assuming the wrapper was contaminated with blood containing HIV, could the fact that the liquid was wrapped along with hot foot help preserve its infectiousness outside the body?

(3) Assuming the smudge was blood containing HIV, could any of this substance transmit through my nose as I attempted to smell it (I have chronic nasal inflammation fyi)?

(4) Would brief hand washing (maybe 10 seconds) with SoftSoap and tap water kill HIV instantly on my finger/hands or am I at any risk by the water hitting my face/eyes assuming the water contained residual HIV virus from my affected finger?

Thanks again for your time.





239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.  My first reaction is to express my regret that you missed your meal by throwing it out.  Of course you should have eaten it without fear!

This is strictly an issue of your self-professed HIV phobia/OCD.  Nobody in the world has ever, once, anywhere, anyhow caught HIV from this sort of event.  It's extraordinarily unlikely your food was contaminated with blood; even less likely with HIV contaminated blood; and even if it was, infection does not result from swallowing tiny amounts of HIV or from getting HIV infected blood on your hands.  There is no chance you were infected, you should not be tested for HIV, and you can safely continue unprotected sex with your regular partner if you have one.

Those comments address your numbered questions, but to be explicit so there is no misunderstanding:

1) This is irrelevant.
2) No, this isn't feasible.
3) Nope.
4) Washing with soap and water instantaneously kills HIV.  But since the risk was zero anyway, washing or not makes no difference in your risk.

As you likely know, phobias and OCD are not helped very much by simple knowledge of the scientific facts, so I doubt my comments are going to reduce your anxiety. But believe me, there is absolutely no risk of HIV in this situation.  There is no additional information you can provide that would change this opinion or my advice, so there is no point in further discussion.  I won't have anything more to say -- except to advise (as you might expect) professional counseling if you find yourself continuing to obsess on the possibility you caught HIV.  I suggest it from compassion, not criticism.

Regards--  HHH, MD
4 Comments
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Thank you for your response doctor.  Needless to say, I will be doing my best to move forward in an effort to address these irrational thoughts.  Thanks again for your time.
Blank
Avatar_m_tn
Doctor, before I forget, am I at risk for any other blood-borne diseases such as hepatitis from the aforementioned event?  This will be my last question.  Thanks.
Blank
239123_tn?1267651214
No.
Blank
Continue discussion Blank
This Forum's Experts
239123_tn?1267651214
H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
300980_tn?1194933000
Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
,
MedHelp Health Answers
Blank
Weight Tracker
Weight Tracker
Start Tracking Now
RSS Expert Activity
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
The 3 Essentials to Ending Emotiona...
Sep 18 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Control Emotional Eating with this ...
Sep 04 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank
242532_tn?1269553979
Blank
Emotional Eating Control: How to St...
Aug 28 by Roger Gould, M.D.Blank