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Scratch possibility of HIV
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Scratch possibility of HIV

I know that I have asked some odd HIv questions, but I'm worried I could have gotten HIV from scratching someone.
I was at a local minimart last night. When I reached to grab my change, I accidentially scratched the lady behind the counter. It appeared that I could have caused a cut on her hand.
Ever since then I have been looking under my finger nail to see if I had an open wound and see if her blood could have gotten under my fingernail and into my system. I don't bite my nails and i don't think I would have a cut under my fingernail, but I am still concerned. (my fingernails were very long at the time. If I scratch someone else am I at risk of getting hiv? Sorry to bother you again, with these odd questions.
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No, you can't get HIV that way.

HHH, MD
20 Comments
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WOW!! Your fear of HIV is really getting out of hand.  My advice to you would be a mental health professional, not an AIDS/STD professional.  I think you know the answer to your question.  HIV is not spread by scratching people.  It is spread by UNPROTECTED anal and vaginal sex.  It is possible, but very rare to get it from giving unprotected oral sex to men.  It is unheard of to get it by RECEIVING unprotected oral sex (male or female) and it is unheard of to get it from giving cunninglus.  It can be transmitted by sharing needled for IV drug use and in the old days before good testing, by reciving blood products and organs.  There are some occupational risks (needle stick, etc.) BUT THAT IT IT!  You don't get it from protetced sex of any kind, handjobs, having your butt fingered or licked, most oral sex, massages, someome spitting on you, someone  sweating on you, kissing, sharing eating utensils, scratching or getting scrtached by someone, mosquitos, someone peeing on you...etc. etc.  There is so much info on 3 sites that spell it out in detail.  Here, aidsmeds.com and thebody.com.  Do not go to any other websites.  Just those.  Do not try to match symptoms to HIV.  If you ACTUALLY HAD A RISK, get tested at 6 and 12 weeks and be done with it.  If you didn't have a risk, don't try to convince youself that the facts are wrong or that you will be the first person in human history to get HIV from mutual masturbation.
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I'm glad that Imdumb gave you the reality check. I was trying to find a nice way to put it, but he said everything that needs to be said. It will be hard to function in life if you perceive dangers everywhere, and if it isn't HIV it will be something else. See a psychologist. I hope you find some peace of mind.

J
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Doc,
I'm fearful that I could have scratched the girl to the point were I made her bleed. It was on accident. Am I still at no risk? I immediatly ran home and washed my hands, and looked under my fingernail. Last question regarding this issues.
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97676_tn?1340408973
Still no risk.  I cant believe one would even worry about such an episode being a risk at all.  Just relax, have a drink, and dont even worry about it.

Also, consider using some nail clippers and trim those things down a bit.  Cutting or scratching someone simply by getting money from another persons hand is rediculous.
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The only risk is that her scratch gets an infection from you fingernail bacteria and next time you see her she beats your *** because you scratched her. Now stop this Toddbenny. Have a beer and enjoy the rest of the evening.
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239123_tn?1267651214
ryn21 is right; it's a ridculous thing to worry about.  And imdumb is right; and infection risk is to the scratchee, not the scratcher.  If that kind of exposure led to HIV (or hepatitis or other blood borne infections), we all would have been infected long ago.  No sex, no shared needles, no tranfusion or transplantation of infected blood or organs-->no HIV risk.  Period.

HHH, MD
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Hi,

If you feel silly about this episode, don't feel so bad. You can scroll down and find a post from someone who thought he could get HIV from snorting coke next to a black man.

J
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It amazes me the fear of contracting HIV via innocuous exposures (that really aren't even exposures) that are posted here.

Why aren't people afraid of dying in automobile accidents?  Your chance of being killed while operating a motor vehicle are VASTLY higher than contracting HIV.  Thousands of people are seriously injuured or die every day that way.  Yet often people don't even bother to put on a seat belt.  

Smoking.  Drinking.  Both carry a good probability of causing illness or death, yet are done everyday.  

Maybe it's the sexual aspect of the whole thing, the guilt or something.  When fear of contracting HIV comes so far as to make someone rush home and wash and inspect their hands after an innocent exchange like ToddBenny described, it has crossed the line into obsessive compulsive disorder, probably.
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Christie,

Here's what I've been thinking but didn't want to say out loud: people are so scared of HIV because they are scared of the type of people associated with HIV. That's my gut instinct. People who live "respectable" lives fear that HIV will not only harm them physically (which of course it will), but will make them the object of scorn. And that often has to do with what people themselves feel about gays, minorities, promiscuous people, sex workers, drug addicts -- the list of people stigmatized already, and further stigmatized by the disease.

A lot of people would feel less anxiety about HIV if they stepped back and examined their own latent prejudices.

J
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Hi,

You asked me something on another thread but I did not want to answer there, since Undergoingpuertorican didn't want more comments in his thread.

Unless your risk was exceptionally certain (i.e., a known HIV+ man ejaculated inside you), I think 80 days is enough. It's technically in the 12th week, counting the first week after infection as the 1st week.

J
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You might be right; my husband and I face the same prejudice b/c he has HepC.  I have been very open about it where I work, mostly because my co-workers and I are RNs and (should) have fewer prejudices.  My husband has kept it a secret where he works and went through 2 years total of treatments with interferons, going to work with temps of 103 just so no one would know.

But the prejudice runs deep.  I've overheard remarks from my own coworkers that indicate they are less than aware that I can't spread HepC to them or other patients.  I don't even have HepC.  My unit manager suggested that I shouldn't scrub on C/Sections as "you could become infected at any time".  We got past that one with a lot of effort on my part and the threat of a lawsuit.
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WHat other forum are you guys posting at to find answers concerning HIV? What is Undergoingpuertorican, is that a site? As a whole, all of you guys think it would best if I sought treatment, for my disorder? Today I freaked out because my roomate used my nail clippers.
If HIV is such a fragile disease I should have nothing to worry about. If I had unprotected sex with an hiv+ women than I would still have a 1 in 1,000 chance of getting the disease.
I don't know why I'm so paranoid. It isn't the stigma. It is the fact that things have always been given to be on a silver platter. I don't have to worry about money, I just have to worry about living a happy life. I want to be a husband one day, and a proud father of three children. I just want to have a wonderful family because that is what i was blessed with. This HIV paranoia makes me worry that I one day won't be able to have a family. ALl you guys think my fears are stupid?
I need help, I want to get over this irrational fear of hiv. I want to know that I am going to live a longlife and have a fmaily one day. If anyone wants to respond they can, or if anyone knows where I can get some help, please let me know.
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I don't think your fears are stupid at all.  I think you are obsessing.  This might be out of your control.  I'd make an appt with a mental health professional to discuss this overwhelming fear.  If it is OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive-Disorder) there is therapy and medication you can take to rid yourself of these worrisome thoughts that have little basis in fact.  
My first husband had OCD.  He worried constantly about illness, cancer, heart attacks, kidney disease and brain tumors.  He would go through cycles convinced he had all the symptoms, go through exhaustive tests, etc.  Then when he was finally convinced he didn't have that one particular illness, he would seize on the idea he had another one.  When he got put on medication for OCD, he stopped worrying.  He said the fears just melted away, not that he was drugged up at all...he plain and simple wasn't bothered by intrusive thoughts of constant illness and impending death while on medication.

JohnnyV might have hit in on the head with his insightful comments about why people are so afraid of HIV, when there are so many other threats to our everyday lives, that are more realistic to take precautions against.

The only thing you should do to protect yourself against HIV is to use a condom for sexual relations unless you are in a committed relationship to someone whose status you know, and not to share needles.  Realistically, that's all you can do, and all you should worry about.  Scratching, using nail clippers, etc...are NOT a problem.  If you are obsessing about innocuous events such as those, YOU have a problem and really should seek help.  You'll feel better if you do.
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Thank you,
It is weird I have lived a happy easy life for 22 years and now I'm bombarded with these irrational fears. I had an HIV scare 6 months ago and now it has continued into irrational thoughts. My fears are obsessive and quite habit forming.

What meds was your husband put on for his OCD? I went to a psychitirst 7 days ago and he put me on Prozac and xanax. He recommended a pschologist for me but she is unfortunately on vacation. Xanax for the anxiety prozac for the ocd.
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You said, "i don't think your fears are stupid at all." WHat your saying is that I shouldn't punish myself by labeling them as stupid? Is that correct? are you saying I'm at risk or simply saying that fears arern't stupid there just irrational?
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Are you SURE you aren't my ex husband????

No, I think your fears aren't stupid...I think they are a symptom of a problem, possibly OCD or something similar.  I don't remember what my ex was on, as this was many years ago.  I repeat, I think (and I am not a doctor) that you need to see a mental health professional and discuss your consuming fear of HIV.  Let him/her diagnose you and prescribe any needed treatment.
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Hi,

When is your counselor returning from vacation? If you have OCD and anxiety disorder, it sounds like you're having an attack of some kind. Christie would know better than I would, about OCD, since I have no experience with it. I've never been on either kind of medication. Is there any way you can make an appointment now, so at least you have a date and time when you know you will be able to get help?

I'm not a doctor either, but my gut tells me that you're worried about your future for some reason; you want to be a typical suburban dad and for some reason, you fear that you either don't deserve normality, or won't find it. Unfortunately marriage and family life is a field of massive uncertainty. There's no way to predict marriage, three children, and happiness. I'm guessing that the uncertainty of those realities is bothering you. Since HIV is also a disease that brings uncertainties (we never know who really has it, getting it seems like a strange game of odds, it has a long detection window and an even longer dormancy...) you're somehow linking HIV and the bigger questions about your life.

I've been through tons of HIV scares (I got 15 tests in 13 years, for instance) and I know that nothing I, Christie, or even Dr. H can say will succeed in getting HIV out of your mind. It's like your brain finds it easier to compress all the vague, overwhelming unknowns of the future into three little letters; HIV is easier to pick apart and obsess over. At least, on the bright side, you have zero risk, so there's a harmlessness to your investigating and asking questions about HIV. But it sounds like it is on the verge of becoming an unhealthy obsession and could cause you to engage in other behaviors (like locking yourself in a sterile room) that may endanger your job, school, etc. So I think you need to see someone who can start grounding you again, real fast.

Until you see your counselor, maybe it's best that you don't do anything that will trigger your anxiety even more. Try to find a way to relax, if that's possible.

I don't think your fears are stupid, but they are unreasonable. That's understandable considering your condition. But you can only be in this state for so long before it's your responsibility to get out of it. Find the doctor and get help.

J
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Hi,

I almost forgot: make sure not to miss any dose of either your Xanax or Prozac. And if you start getting racing thoughts and want to do something dangerous, make sure to call the psychiatrist. I assume the psychiatrist can't talk to you about life issues, since that's usually the psychologist's job; but in most cases the psychiatrist will intervene if you're going through a breakdown that endangers you or others.


Also, Undergoingpuertorican is the name of another forum member.

J
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Any concern of getting scratched by a loose staple in a hotel room?  
Not just HIV.  Thanks
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A related discussion, hiv was started.
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A related discussion, can get hiv from nail scrutch from hiv infected person? was started.
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