Drs thank you for this wonderful service as reading the posts helps me a lot. unfortunately i am having a severe bout of anxiety and trying to get help. i have a fear of catching hiv and passing it to others in my life.
1. i have a friend, while at school many people teased he was gay although have not heard anything about it, though i guess its possible he would keep it quiet. last year he was resting his face on my arm and rubbed his nose agaisnt me. in my severe anxiety i worried if he had a nose bleed could i get HIV or hepatitis, i remember at some point having a razor cut on my arm,im sure was not bleeding but if he had opened the cut by rubbing could i get infected with HIV/hep or would there have to be a very bad injury? 2. am i right its not possible to get bloodborne diseases from a sharp thorn? 3. i am worried about passing hiv/hep to my bf if a small bit of my blood contacted his penis (not during sex). also if some blood remained on my toilet and my bf or family member contacted it (with genitals) is this no risk? once during my period i realised i had not noticed some blood inside the bowl.
Whether or not your acquaintance is gay, and regardless of his sexual lifestyle, there was absolutely no risk of catching HIV, hepatitis, or any other blood borne infection from the sort of events you describe. There simply are no cases of HIV in people who have not had unprotected sex, shared injection equipment, injuries with HIV contaminated sharp instruments (limited almost entirely to health care personnel), or babies born to infected mothers. The theoretical risks from blood exposure in the environment are just that, theoretical -- with few if any known cases when such transmission actually occurred. Further, any theoretical risk would only apply when there was enough blood that would be visibly obvious, and the blood would have to be fresh and wet.
These facts are the reason that it is illegal to ask people about HIV status or risk factors, or even to require blood testing in people with occupations that involve blood exposure, like health care or emergency services professionals.
So don't give this another thought, either for the friend you have in mind or as you go through life and meet other persons who might be at elevated risk for HIV. If you do encounter overt blood, e.g. if you are helping an accident victim, it would be wise to limit the contact as much as possible, ideally by using latex gloves, washing afterward, etc. But you need never be worried about inadvertant, unknown exposures to blood. These simply are never a risk.
I hope these comments are helpful. Take care-- HHH, MD
I forgot to comment on your third question. Of course your blood is no risk to your boyfriend (or anyone else) if you don't have a blood borne infection yourself. And even if you were to have HIV or hepatitis someday, the sorts of superficial contact you describe would be no risk to anyone. The only way you would ever infect someone would be through unprotected sex or sharing drug injection equipment.
Thank you so much Dr for your time and your caring response. I know exactly I need to 'not give it another thought' and if I do then I think my anxiety could be cut by about 90 percent!
I just feel I am stupid enough to have a situation where someone has a nose bleed, and has bled into my arm (with a cut) and I'd not notice!! But if I'm correct in understanding you're saying even if such a scenario where to occur, it would only be a 'theoretical' risk? i.e. On paper it could happen but probably will never happen in real life? Is that because many other things would have to occur for transmission to take place e.g. because I'd be bleeding out the virus can't effectively get into my system?
I constantly worry about such scenarios, and my main worry is passing it to someone else, like if I use a bottle opener and then pass it to my brother, I worry it may have cut me and I never noticed. And it may cut him and then maybe he needs PEP!! Or if I'm teaching piano I worry if I have my period blood could have leaked on to the chair, and if a child sits on it it could infect them. Or even if my dog is carrying thorns in his coat I worry if they had blood on them it could infect me if I got stuck with one (simply bcs the thorn came from a bush outside a house where I know an alcoholic's family live, which opens me up to thinking maybe he takes drugs too!!) I know from your answer this is all probably irrelevant for HIV/Hep but in my mind I constantly see images of the possibilities !!
Those scenarios virtually never happen. As an example of the data available, among household members of HIV infected people (who are not their sex- or needle-sharing partners), none ever catch HIV despite years of sharing toilets, kitchens, eating utensils, and often providing personal nursing care. The things you mention truly can and should be ignored.
Abnormal fear of contagion -- whether HIV or other bacteria (e.g. worrying about shared toilets, doorknobs, etc) -- sometime is a sign of serious future mental health disability. Rent "The Aviator", the Leonardo DiCaprio film biography of Howard Hughes (and a great movie!) for an excellent example where this can lead. If your obsession with such nonexistant HIV risks continues, or you have other contamination fears, you should seek counseling. I suggest it from compassion, not criticsm.
Sorry Dr it seems I had an old account on my P.C. I didn't realise I automatically was signing in to. I'll not ask anymore Qs as per the 2 Qs per 6 months.
Many thanks for your help Dr, I am trying to organise counselling, and I've seen that movie as well! My absolute last comment is that it would help me to know I understood this OK: that even if there was blood present (e.g. a nose bleed) with someone resting on my arm (where possibly they rubbed their nose opening a cut) this is still just a theoretical risk?
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