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Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons?

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HIV AIDS Specialist
Practicing since : 1974
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I am a nurse and have been all consumed with the fear of contracting HIV from an encounter with blood this past week. I am on my period, and usually at work am very careful before inserting a tampon in assuring that there is nothing on my hands. This shift was very busy and I was rushed, so I went into the bathroom, and realized there was a drop of blood on the toilet. I grabbed a handful of paper towels and dabbed it dry. My pager was going off so I quickly inserted a new tampon. It was then I realized I could have contaminated my hand when dabbing up the blood with the paper towel before inserting my tampon. I am now worried the blood was on my hand or got on the tampon applicator and was then inserted into my vagina. Is this an HIV risk? Thanks in advance for your help.
Posted Sun, 21 Apr 2013 in HIV and AIDS
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 3 hours later
Hi,
Welcome to XXXXXXX
Thanks for posting your query.

Since you are a nurse and you would get alerted naturally on cleaning the blood on the toilet and would be very careful in using the toilet paper towels while cleaning.
Moreover the HIV is highly fragile and cannot live longer outside the body, especially it cannot survive in dry blood stain on hands or on tampon applicator.

Moreover even with regular intercourse with an infected partner is also not always infectious. There are 30-40% of couple remains sero- discordant in spite of regular contact.
So the chances HIV transmission through inanimate objects and fomites are very very low.
Dr S.Murugan

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 41 minutes later
So even if there was wet blood on my hand or got on the applicator, the chances of getting HIV this way is slim to none? My only concern is that blood theoretically would have come into contact with my vagina, which could possibly pose a threat for infection.
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 4 hours later
Hi,
Welcome back.

HIV Transmission through Blood transfusion, needle sharing, anal intercourse, needle stick injury, vaginal intercourse are having higher risk on this order as per CDC, Atlanta. Oral intercourse carry low risk. In all other circumstances the risk is negligible.
The theoretical possibility of blood having virus, stick to your finger or applicator and contaminate your vagina and enters your body is very very remote possibility.
So you need not worry.
If you have more queries, I am pleased to answer.
Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 8 hours later
Thank you Dr. XXXXXXX I appreciate your reassurance. Since this only happened a little over a week ago, no tests would be accurate in order to ease my mind completely correct? I know the 4th generation DUO/Combo tests looks for antibodies and the antigen. If I were to get this test done for reassurance, would it be accurate at this point? Thanks again.
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 6 hours later
Hi XXXXXX,
Once again welcome back with your follow up questions.

Yes you are absolutely correct.
4th generation DUO/COMBO test is more reliable and conclusive and sensitive as early as 3 weeks.
You have to wait for few more days and have the test done and you will be relieved totally after seeing a negative result.
Wish you good luck.
Dr S XXXXXXX
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 7 hours later
Dr. XXXXXXX
Looking for some more reassurance. I apologize. Would I be at increases risk since this was an induced period from Plan B that can cause Vaginal changes? Therefore when inserting the tampon, with potential contageous blood, would it be at a greater risk to get to the blood stream since my vagina was not in its normal state? Am I really over analyzing this? Thank you .
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 1 hour later
Hi XXXXXX,

I am pleased to answer your questions.

As you said that you are assuming more.
There is no difference in the status of your vaginal epithelium and uterine endometrium whether it was an induced period or a regular period and so it would not increase anyway the HIV transmission.
So you simply forget about the increased risk.
Everything will go well.
DR S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 52 minutes later
Thank you. I just read that Depo Shots have been found to increase the risks of transmission by 3x's. It was after reading these articles I became more concerned.

Essentially I am thinking worse case scenerio to try and rationalize in my mind. Worse case is I had fresh blood on my finger that was used to insert my tampon. Even if this blood came in contact with my vagina and was from a positive source, transmission would be slight chance due to the small amount of blood and for the mere fact that it was not exchanged directly from person to person. Correct? Again, I know by this point I must be sounding OCD.
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 5 hours later
Hi,

Once again welcome back.


If the blood drop is fresh and even if it is from a positive individual,getting contaminated on your fingers or tampon applicator, then if it got touched on your vaginal epithelium (all odds), the chances of HIV Transmission is very low only.
Don't think rarest possibilities. The quantity of blood didn't matter as the virus is very very tiny and the viral load of the individual does matter to decide the risk.
Relax yourself.
You will be alright.
Dr S.Murugan.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 10 hours later
Thanks again Dr!
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 4 hours later
You are most welcome.
If you don't have further queries kindly close this conversation.
Thank you.
Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 21 hours later
I work in a pediatric hospital and was in the community kitchen where patients and families can go. As I was walking out I felt a little prick on my finger as I touched the door handle. I looked down at my finger and there was no blood. But when I blanched it there was a pin point red dot under the surface (looking much like a leaking vessel).

I am concerned because I am afraid a small needle was placed there. I have read in recent news HIV infected needles have been left in public places. Can HIV be spread that way? When i squeezed my finger to try and get the blood out it wouldnt, its all strictly under the surface. I know small pricks can close fast though.. Is this an indicator for PEP?
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 3 hours later
Hi,
Welcome back.

A fresh needle prick after it was used with HIV positive individual, certainly has a risk and PEP is definitely advised. But a needle kept long back to prick somebody would not be likely to have wet blood and therefore unlikely to have the virus in that needle. So the chances are very low.
Don't assume rarer possibilities.
If you have a real doubt like this PEP will definitely be useful.
Wish you good luck
Dr.S.Murugan

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 1 hour later
Is it of more concern that it didn't bleed and I wasn't able to squeeze out blood? Or is it more reassuring it didn't, meaning whatever poked me didn't read the vessel enough to break skin, but just enough to make it leak into the different layers of skin? Thanks.
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 1 hour later
Hi,

Only in certain other diseases like tetanus or poisonous bite, maximum bleeding is to be encouraged which can reduce the intensity of the poison or bacterial infection. In viral infection, especially in HIV washing of injured part immediately is stressed and not the bleeding. It doesn't matter much whether the prick has sufficient bleeding or not, both carries the same risk only, that too with the fresh prick.
Dr S.Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
Follow-up: Is it possible to get hiv through contaminated tampons? 2 days later
Can an HIV RNA test be accurate at 10 days?
 
 
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 7 hours later
Hi,

Welcome back.

HIV RNA test will be more useful not for the early diagnosis, but it is useful to assess the prognosis of the patient as it is a quantitative test and estimates viral load. Result will be expressed as undetectable viral load even in the absence of the disease. It may confuse you.
HIV DNA PCR is the most useful test to diagnosis of HIV disease in early stages.
Even though these PCR test will start becoming positive as early as a week after the high risk, it becomes more conclusive with reliability from 3- 4 weeks after the contact.
So have the test done after 21 days.
Wish you good luck.
Dr S.Murugan

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
 
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