Anonymous
So my concern is this. There was a guy working in my house while I was not home. My boyfriend was there but he was busy working so he was in the office with the door shut. Anyway this worker guy was working in our bathroom but had to keep going outside to get stuff out of his van. I personally would never let someone work in my house without watching them closely but I am sometimes a little extreme with stuff like that. Can you please tell me your honest opinion of whether I am being extreme here or if this is a real concern. First I will tell you I am extremely scared of hiv, blood, etc and think about it all the time because I have a serious phobia of it. My fear is now that this guy was working and my boyfriend was not really watching him I am thinking what if he contaminated stuff in our house/bathroom (the room he was working in was the bathroom) like for example the soap container and its one of those refill one with the rubber/air tight seal tops that is the cap. You can uncap the air tight top and refill more soap but I want to be specific here and tell you it is one of those automatic dispenser and the cap has a rubber seal around it making it air tight when you put the cap back on. I am freaking out thinking what if he brought in a needle filled with hiv blood and opened the cap of the soap or any of the bottles in our bathroom, for example the peroxide, shampoo and conditioner any thing really and injected the hiv blood in our stuff? I know that does sound weird but I am scared that someone would do something like that to infect us and I wash my hands with the soap and I have an open/bleeding cut because my finger is cut and the crack keeps opening because of the spot its in. so if i were to use our stuff like the soap to wash my bleeding cut or the shampoo and conditioner or the peroxide will I get hiv that way if the scenario I described happened? Am I being extreme here? This is not a normal thought to have right? Should I be worried about hiv here? Another thought I have is what if he masturbated and put his sperm in our stuff or wiped his stuff on our towels and we used them or what if he went in our bedroom and put his sperm in my underwear and then when i put it on his stuff can infect me. Can that happen?? Are these risks of hiv if this were to happen? Please answer truthfully and tell me why or why not. I do know you are going to say that hiv can not live outside the body. Why can it not live in a soap container with an airtight sealed cap, if it can survive in a airtight sealed needle barrel. I need to know the difference between the two because I wonder about hiv being contaminated in stuff by others often and hear stuff about it surviving in an airtight sealed environment such as a needle barrel but what is the difference between that and stuff that has never been opened or very specifically those automatic soap dispensers with airtight sealed caps. Please be sure to answer every question I ask here as I do appreciate it. I am really stressed and anxious about this. Thanks.
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Anonymous
HI there,

Thanks for contacting AIDS Vancouver with HIV/AIDS-related information.

The short answer to your question is that while we are very familiar with people writing us who are very concerned about HIV in the same way you are, you have NOTHING to worry about. HIV transmission has NEVER occurred this way. HIV is transmitted through unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse or sharing injection needles. Not in soap, towels, sheets, surfaces, NEVER.

Let me explain why: For HIV transmission to occur, body fluids (blood, semen, anal/vaginal fluids), plus a high risk activity (unprotected anal/vaginal intercourse, needle sharing), plus direct access to your bloodstream (i.e. through the vagina, urethra in the penis, other mucosal membranes, needle sharing) equals a risk of HIV transmission.

The soap dispenser you are mentioning is not the same as the airtight seal in a syringe. Lets say the contractor tried to deliberately infect you with blood containing HIV (extremely unlikely! This is an urban legend): as soon as the blood became exposed to the air while being transferred to the soap container, the oxygen in the air would have already killed it. And while HIV can live in an airtight environment, it would be at most for 3 weeks and not forever.

But, even if by some rare scientific phenomenon, HIV would be in the soap, it would have already died once dispensed because it was exposed to oxygen. Furthermore, HIV is not transmitted through the flesh. It needs direct access to your bloodstream. So whether it's semen on towels, in shampoo, or blood on the hands, contact is not enough. The small cut you are describing does NOT provide sufficient access. For there to be a risk, you would need big, freshly bleeding wounds (i.e. stab wounds) and not to be the cuts you've described.

So, remember this: So long as you are not having unprotected anal/vaginal sex with someone of unknown status or sharing injection needles with them, you are NOT placing yourself at risk for HIV transmission.

I hope I have resolved some of your stress and anxiety by answering your questions; however, if you have more, please don't hesitate to ask.

To your health

Maggie

AIDS Vancouver Volunteer
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