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Casual Contact Clarification

Question: 

Hi there,

I am trying to educate myself and I was just wondering if you could please explain in detail why casual contact with someone with HIV is no risk. What if someone with HIV began to have a bleeding cut while casually hanging out with them and you accidentally came in contact with the infected blood by brushing up against them, hugging or shaking hands with them? Is this still considered casual contact even if they are bleeding? What if the HIV negative person had a cut or scrape on them as well. I am just wanting to make sure that it is safe for me to be around someone that I know with HIV as I have a baby and would never want to put him at risk. Thank you so much in advance.

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about whether it is possible to acquire HIV while making casual contact with someone who is HIV positive.

From the information given, this scenario is determined to be of No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation. Social or casual contact may include activities such as shaking hands, hugging, kissing, etc. HIV is not transmittable through such activities (1). Unless bodily fluids are shared through open wounds, HIV cannot be transmitted through the skin. There have been no documented cases of HIV transmission due to an exposure involving small amount of blood on intact skin (2).

Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided, refer to a physician for other health related questions.

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Mahtab