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 Post subject: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:52 pm 
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This week, my partner was dealing with one of his kids (he's a teacher for kids with severe emotional disturbances) who has hallucinations and is extremely violent. The child bit him and broke through the skin. There are marks on his arm, but there wasn't really any bleeding. It looked more like when you scrape your knee or something.

Anyway, his supervisors made him go to urgent care to get checked out and get a tetanus shot. They also made him get tested for HIV.

Yeah.

Rationally I know that the chances of him being infected are like.... 0. HIV isn't readily transmitted through saliva, and the only cases where bites have led to transmission of the virus have been when there was severe tissue damage and lots of blood involved. But at the same time, what if the kid IS positive and my partner IS infected? What the fork do I do?

Obviously I care about him and want to continue to be intimate. Now I'm all freaked out that I could be at risk. I can't just say "Oh well!" and walk away, you know? I feel confident that he isn't infected, and I know that we can use condoms, but still... We won't really know anything until these results come back in a week and then he is tested again in 6 months.

He is so freaked out and I feel truly terrible. He thinks he is dying simply because he is paranoid. His workplace has not been supportive. His doctor asked for the child to be tested but his mom hasn't agreed. She has had several conversations with my partner where she has insisted that he is not infected. My partner asked his supervisor about the child's medical records, and she basically said "I wouldn't really worry about that particular child." Obviously she can't say anything without breaking confidentiality, but I wish there was something more she could do or say.

Ugh. Any words of advice? This is all I can think about right now. I need hugs.


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 7:59 pm 
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Hugs! As hard as it is, try to remain calm until you get the results. Is there any particular reason for you to believe the kid has HIV, or is it just that this is routine for anyone who has been bitten?

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:25 pm 
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Deep breaths. I wouldn't get too worried yet and try to just relax until you get the results. It's really unlikely so think positive and just use precaution if being intimate until then. Sounds pretty likely things are okay, so think in that way and if other news comes along you will be in a better mindset to handle it.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 8:27 pm 
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To help ease your mind a bit more, it may help to know that with current tests, you no longer need to wait six months. Most people who are infected will test positive within 2 to 8 weeks, and retesting for those who test negative is recommended at the three month mark rather than the six.

Also, in addition to the low risk of transmission from a bite, the fact that the biter was a child (and in the United States) means there is an extremely small chance that he was HIV positive. Less than 1% of all individuals living with HIV in the United States were under 13 years old at the time of diagnoses.

As an added precaution, your partner could ask his doctor about post-exposure prophylaxis (a course of antiretrovirals taken within 72 hours of exposure for a total of 28 days), which seem to reduce infection rates post-exposure. They may not be available to all individuals, though, and there are obviously side effects to consider.

But overall, try not to worry unless/until you have to. Like you said, odds of infection are close to 0% in this case. Additionally, although it is a very scary word, HIV is now often characterized as a chronic, but manageable illness, rather than the terminal illness it was initially. It is simply not the death sentence it once was! And bear in mind that the vast majority of women who have protected intercourse with HIV+ partners never seroconvert.

And of course, if you are uncomfortable right now, it is perfectly reasonable for you to engage only in lower risk sexual activities with your partner until his test in three months comes back negative (such as oral sex and mutual stroganoff). Vaginal intercourse is not the only option for intimacy!


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:50 pm 
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Wah? Why does he think the kid has HIV? Sorry but the title of this thread does not match up and is almost insulting. It reminds me of the 80s aids paranoia. I know you said that you were just being paranoid but seriously, think about how this thread reads to someone who has actually gone through a rational HIV scare, or to someone who may be HIV positive.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:24 pm 
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IsaChandra wrote:
Wah? Why does he think the kid has HIV? Sorry but the title of this thread does not match up and is almost insulting. It reminds me of the 80s aids paranoia. I know you said that you were just being paranoid but seriously, think about how this thread reads to someone who has actually gone through a rational HIV scare, or to someone who may be HIV positive.


You're right. I came back to clarify a few things because I realized that my post was probably insensitive. I absolutely apologize for that. I guess there are concerns about this child because of parental drug use and other high risk behaviors. I don't know the details as I don't know the child and his history.

I do not intend to leave my partner. I'm just concerned about how something like this, like any disease or condition, may affect our current lifestyle and level of intimacy.


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:27 pm 
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Would it be possible for a mod to edit the title if it is offensive or misleading? Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:38 pm 
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Regarding the emergency meds side effects: at least 2 friends have tried them, one made it through the course, one quit early. Apparently there are really intense dreams with at least one flavor of the meds.

Otherwise, try to busy yourselves with other activities to avoid panic before any testing, etc. Easier said than done, I know, but it is pretty unlikely that the kid-bite is an actual issue.

As for sex, there are plenty of things you can do w/barrier sex. Try to think of it as a creative challenge. If you need some ideas, google SFSI (San Francisco Sex Institute/Info?) for a good start. They also have a hotline you can call about the HIV transmission info/general sex info.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:00 pm 
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I'm still stuck on why anyone thinks this kid might have HIV, to begin with. What would make him high-risk? I'm not trying to be callous, but I can't understand any reason to worry your partner might be infected--sounds more like a problem with generalized fear.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:00 am 
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So sorry to hear you guys are dealing with this. My mom was stuck with a needle at work and didn't know who the needle was used on, and it was a really scary time.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:02 am 
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i'm wondering if he had bitten someone else in the past and the parents had refused to test him then. (that puts up a flag for me)

especially with former parental drug use (with potential shared needle usage) it suggests that the parents might already have a suspicion, or might already know? (in which case, why they would put their son's teacher through all that distress of not completely knowing for a full 3 months. he'd be taking the antiretrovirals as a need rather than a hunch. or at least he'd for sure take the antiretrovirals instead of taking the chance of possibly not needing them, and then regretting not taking them.)

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:30 am 
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tinglepants! wrote:
I'm still stuck on why anyone thinks this kid might have HIV, to begin with. What would make him high-risk? I'm not trying to be callous, but I can't understand any reason to worry your partner might be infected--sounds more like a problem with generalized fear.

Yeah, pretty much.

In 2008, the most recent data, there were only 182 children under 13 in the US diagnosed with HIV and 41 diagnosed with AIDs in a single year (out of nearly sixty million kids). The total number of children under 13 ever diagnosed with AIDs in the US from the beginning of the outbreak up to 2008 is under 10,000. And considering it's been about thirty years since AIDs was first discovered, only a fraction of those represent children currently living with AIDs.

Multiply that by the relatively low chance of transmission through a human bite ... Melly's husband probably has a better probability of being struck by lightning on the way to the clinic.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:30 am 
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I don't see reasons to assume that the kid may be infected, but if you want to assume he is...

While going through nursing school, I went through a seminar on AIDS and one educator explained the likelihood of being infected by saliva like this: Even if you were sitting in a tub of a person's saliva who was infected with aids while having open sores all over your body, you will still be extremely unlikely to contract anything.


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 6:01 am 
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I accidentally stabbed myself with a used needle while I worked as a dental nurse. I had no reason to believe that I had contracted HIV/Aids, but I had to have a routine check up anyway. Even though I was 99% sure that the person who the needle had been used on was not infected with anything, I was still a bit worried and kept thinking 'but what if...'. So I can understand your worries, but you need to keep reassuring yourself that the chances of your partner having caught anything are tiny. I hope you cope with this ok.


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:45 am 
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tinglepants! wrote:
I'm still stuck on why anyone thinks this kid might have HIV, to begin with. What would make him high-risk? I'm not trying to be callous, but I can't understand any reason to worry your partner might be infected--sounds more like a problem with generalized fear.

This is why I didn't reply to this. I was really confused. I thought maybe it was known that the specific child was HIV positive, but since melly didn't mention that I was wondering where that assumption came from. I've known children with parents who use drugs which require needles, etc, but I would never assume the child to be HIV positive.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 9:27 am 
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Sarah wrote:
tinglepants! wrote:
I'm still stuck on why anyone thinks this kid might have HIV, to begin with. What would make him high-risk? I'm not trying to be callous, but I can't understand any reason to worry your partner might be infected--sounds more like a problem with generalized fear.

This is why I didn't reply to this. I was really confused. I thought maybe it was known that the specific child was HIV positive, but since melly didn't mention that I was wondering where that assumption came from. I've known children with parents who use drugs which require needles, etc, but I would never assume the child to be HIV positive.


My guess is that it was because the school insisted melly's partner get a tetanus shot/HIV test, but that's probably just standard bureaucratic procedure.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:09 am 
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Little kids bite each other, their teachers and themselves all the damn time. I don't know anyone, ever who has been tested for AIDs. Why would you worry?

We accept a certain degree of risk anytime we have sex with anyone. You could have been at risk for a variety of thing the first time you were intimate.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:52 am 
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tinglepants! wrote:
Sarah wrote:
tinglepants! wrote:
I'm still stuck on why anyone thinks this kid might have HIV, to begin with. What would make him high-risk? I'm not trying to be callous, but I can't understand any reason to worry your partner might be infected--sounds more like a problem with generalized fear.

This is why I didn't reply to this. I was really confused. I thought maybe it was known that the specific child was HIV positive, but since melly didn't mention that I was wondering where that assumption came from. I've known children with parents who use drugs which require needles, etc, but I would never assume the child to be HIV positive.


My guess is that it was because the school insisted melly's partner get a tetanus shot/HIV test, but that's probably just standard bureaucratic procedure.


Bureaucracy is exactly what this is.

On the very, VERY tiny chance that anything bad happens, the school wants their asparagus COVERED so that they have no liability.

Almost everything can be traced back to institutions trying to avoid lawsuits.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:56 am 
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orangeluna wrote:
I don't see reasons to assume that the kid may be infected, but if you want to assume he is...

While going through nursing school, I went through a seminar on AIDS and one educator explained the likelihood of being infected by saliva like this: Even if you were sitting in a tub of a person's saliva who was infected with aids while having open sores all over your body, you will still be extremely unlikely to contract anything.

Wow, this is the grossest hypothetical ever.


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:57 am 
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Based on the experiences I have with emotionally disturbed children, if you work with them, the odds of being bitten at some point are high. If it is going to cause an emotional issue for your partner, maybe he needs to think about what he does for a living? But if you are bitten, being worried about infection (the human mouth is dirty) is much more reasonable than being worried about HIV.

My mom is a nurse and she has had one needle stick. She was unsure of the source of the needle and she does hospice work with a AIDS-heavy case load, so she took anti-virals (the side effects are brutal)and used protection with her husband until she had the three month all-clear. While I personally think taking anti-virals would be over the top, if you're going to be worried about it, why not just use protection until you feel better?

I think for both of you, reading and learning about HIV and AIDS might be wiser. The certainty you're projecting about this kid being HIV positive is kind of strange. Just because he was bitten doesn't give him a right to the child's medical records. HIs supervisors didn't ask him to get an HIV test because they thought the kid was HIV positive. They're just covering their legal bases. The HIV test is like the tetanus shot . . . just in case. I'm not sure what kind of "support" he feels he should get from his workplace.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:08 am 
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Adah wrote:
orangeluna wrote:
I don't see reasons to assume that the kid may be infected, but if you want to assume he is...

While going through nursing school, I went through a seminar on AIDS and one educator explained the likelihood of being infected by saliva like this: Even if you were sitting in a tub of a person's saliva who was infected with aids while having open sores all over your body, you will still be extremely unlikely to contract anything.

Wow, this is the grossest hypothetical ever.


I know! But effective in putting things in perspective.

My boyfriend works in a similar environment, with emotionally disturbed teens. He's been bitten about 3 times since we've dated. The administration never asked him to get a tetanus shot or tested for HIV. Either they don't care about him, or it's not something to be hyper-worried about. I'm thinking it's the latter.


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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:10 am 
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I agree with JJR.

Also, from the OP it wasn't clear who "made" him get the HIV test. From the school's reaction, I would presume that it was the hospital, and not the school, who suggested both the tetanus shot and the HIV testing, just to cover all its bases to avoid any legal liability in the future.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:31 am 
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There are a lot of good resources for learning about HIV/AIDS. As someone who was a partial caretaker for someone who died of AIDS, it is a bit of a shock to me that people with treatment no longer die of AIDs. And not to scare you, not sure why the focus would be on HIV but there are also things like Hepatitis which spread in a similar fashion.

http://aids.gov is a good starting point for research on HIV and AIDS.

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 11:49 am 
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linanil wrote:
There are a lot of good resources for learning about HIV/AIDS. As someone who was a partial caretaker for someone who died of AIDS, it is a bit of a shock to me that people with treatment no longer die of AIDs. And not to scare you, not sure why the focus would be on HIV but there are also things like Hepatitis which spread in a similar fashion.

http://aids.gov is a good starting point for research on HIV and AIDS.

I was thinking the same thing about Hepatitis. Melly was he ONLY tested for HIV? Can't the mother be forced to let the child be tested? Like a either let us test him or we charge him with assault? Can't he call the union?*

Teachers are union everywhere right?

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 Post subject: Re: My partner may have been exposed to HIV.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:50 pm 
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Puma wrote:
linanil wrote:
There are a lot of good resources for learning about HIV/AIDS. As someone who was a partial caretaker for someone who died of AIDS, it is a bit of a shock to me that people with treatment no longer die of AIDs. And not to scare you, not sure why the focus would be on HIV but there are also things like Hepatitis which spread in a similar fashion.

http://aids.gov is a good starting point for research on HIV and AIDS.

I was thinking the same thing about Hepatitis. Melly was he ONLY tested for HIV? Can't the mother be forced to let the child be tested? Like a either let us test him or we charge him with assault? Can't he call the union?*

Teachers are union everywhere right?


There is just absolutely no reason to force this child to take an HIV test or to get access to his medical records. If it was an issue of whether to take antiretrovirals, by the time the child's test results came back, it would be too late for Melly's partner to start them (for prevention reasons). And other than that, the only thing that really matters is whether Melly's partner is HIV positive, so he needs to be tested regardless. Finding out now whether the child was HIV positive won't change Melly's partner's results, and attempting to "force" someone into revealing HIV status, particularly in a situation in which the odds of transmission are miniscule, sets a horrible precedent.

I am sympathetic toward the concern, which I imagine was just caused by the bureaucratic recommendation that he get tested, because HIV is a scary word and being told you should be tested for it can cause irrational panic, even if you know it's irrational. But irrational fear, even if understandable, does not mean that the actual facts should be ignored or the child's right violated.


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