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HIV Question
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HIV Question

Dear Dr I have some confusion about HIV. I am working on recovering from a period of bad anxiety but have a few questions lingering. I know from reading the forum that HIV can't be transferred by everyday objects - e.g. in 1 thread the person asked about getting HIV from a knife, but the Dr said the knife would have to be covered in blood immediately before they cut themselves, and it is not something to worry about. I began worrying that since I walk my dog and play with other dogs a lot, that if I was playing with a dog and accidentally it scratched me or 'nipped' me with its teeth and gave me a small cut - would it be possible to get HIV? This came into my mind bcs I learned one of the dogs I often meet is owned by someone who has been in prison for a long time as a political prisoner....and I worry about what often happens in prisons (rape leading to HIV etc). I assumed the dog would have to have given its owner a very bad bite, have its teeth covered in blood, then cut me, in order to transmit HIV to me. But when I saw this thread about risks of HIV from garden tools I worried whether the dog situation is more like the knife incident, or this incident: http://www.medhelp.org/posts/HIV---Prevention/HIV-and-Friend/show/255407 Apart from that my second Q regards tests, I was tested for HIV 1&2 antibody and p24 antigen. I believed I was HIV free but started to worry about 'rare strains' and from my reading I get that my test covers me, however in this thread:http://www.medhelp.org/posts/HIV---International/HIV---terrified-of-possible-rare-strain/show/1705906 It says that the test is thought to cover 'very rare strains' I wonder does the Dr refer to strains that would be very rare, even in Africa? Or does he mean the strains are rare in the Western world, but not so rare in Africa? I once danced with African guys,I worried that alcohol can disrupt memories, and what if one of them tried something sexual on me? altho I know i wasn't in a bad state that nite
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Welcome to the Forum.  Your lingering questions suggest that your anxiety is continuing to get the best of you.  Your possible scenario is something that is incredibly unlikely and has never been described.  The possibility of of an animal bite/"nip" transmitting HIV has never been reported.  The idea that a dog might get HIV infected blood or secretions in their mouth and then Transmit it to you is simply unrealistic and should not concern you.

As far as the concern about "rare strains" are concerned, these strains are rare both in the parts of Africa where they are seen and rarer still (in fact vanishingly rare) in North America.  I urge you not to worry that your tests might have missed such an infection should not be a concern.

I hope my comments are helpful to you.  Please do not worry about the possibility of having gotten HIV from any of the scenarios you describe.  EWH
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Many thanks Dr for your quick response and your patience. I know I'm not supposed to worry about incidents aside from sex and injection by needle, but I feel some events are very risky and can't understand why. One other 'possible' exposure banging around in my mind was I shared a room with a friend who talked about dating a guy, and she later suspected he was bisexual. After hearing that I worried about anytime there could have been menstrual blood on the toilet and I got blood on my fingers, I could have passed it to my vaginal/anal area,if I scratched myself. Because I have dry skin I worried I scratched myself in the vaginal/anal area more than a usual person, and its possible my finger could have poked inside me, transferring blood to inside my vagina or anal area. I just feel like its very risky, especially if I got a lot of blood on my finger, but I know I'm not supposed to worry about these kinds of things.
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These are unrealistic, non-medical concerns.  My sincere advice is that rather than asking questions of HIV and medical specialists to discuss these concerns that you know are unrealistic with a mental health professional.  I say this out of concern.  Nothing more to say. EWH
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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