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Is there any possibility of HIV transmission by touching public bathroom taps?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 9400 Questions
This question is in relation to the possibility of HIV transmission. My daughter who is 1 years of age dropped her dummy on the ground. I then went to the public bathroom in the shopping centre to wash it. As I was cleaning the dummy, I closed the tap with my right hand and also dried the dummy with my right hand, then gave it to my daughter. I started to worry after i got home thinking what if there was HIV infected blood or semen on the tap, and I had used the same hand to close the Tap and dry the dummy which I gave to my daughter, because the tap did have some liquid on it. A few days had passes and now she has a rash on her cheeks and is feeling unwell. This I know is a symptom of HIV. I am also aware that HIV cannot survive for long outside its host. I would like to know if this scenario is a HIV risk or not and If testing as such is required. Thank you
Posted Sat, 18 Jan 2014 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 1 hour later
Brief Answer: Unlikely transmission of HIV through this scenario Detailed Answer: Hello sir and welcome. Thank you for writing to us. I have gone through your query with diligence and understand the concern you have for your daughter. But in my opinion, such a scenario cannot lead to transmission of HIV. Also, the appearance of symptoms this soon in an individual who (if) was transmitted the virus, is impossible. The virus itself remains undetected for at least 3-6 months, and so the appearance of symptoms so early is not possible. I also feel that testing should not be required, but you can go ahead and test for HIV, using a special test called the HIV DUO test which can be conducted 28 days after suspected transmission of the virus. But please remember, that testing would be only for your satisfaction and not for ruling out a possible transmission of HIV. I hope you find my response helpful and informative. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to help you. Best wishes.
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Follow-up: Is there any possibility of HIV transmission by touching public bathroom taps? 4 minutes later
Thank you. So even if HIV infected blood or semen was present and from my hand to the dummy, she then proceeds to suck on her dummy, will this not cause infection ? My second question is can symptoms of HIV not occur a few days after a possible exposure or is that completely impossible ? She has an outbreak of eczema on her cheeks and is worrying me as the incident in question was only a week ago
Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 34 minutes later
Brief Answer: Queries addressed sir Detailed Answer: Hello once again sir. It is highly unlikely for the virus to survive in an external environment for long, and even if it did survive, your daughter would have to have an injury anywhere in her gastrointestinal tract for the virus to enter the blood circulation. And even if she did, the chances of the resulting virus entering the circulation and resulting in an infection is about 2 % or less. So taking all these factors into consideration, it is highly unlikely that this scenario would have resulted in transmission of the virus. It is not common or documented for symptoms of HIV to be seen a few days after the virus has entered the system, as the virus first needs to multiply and reach a number sufficient enough to result in infecting the individual itself. Only after this will the infection result in symptoms. This duration is said to be anywhere between 3-12 months. This outbreak is concerning sir, but it could also be due to common bacteria or infection that could have been transmitted from the contaminated toilet tap or water. This does not necessarily have to be HIV, and can be many other common and less serious infections as well; that have resulted in a rash on her cheeks. I hope I have explained in a manner best understood by you sir. Please feel free to write back to me for any further clarifications, I would be more than happy to help. Take care.
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