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Hiv From Blood In Bathroom

Question: 

Hello,
I may have gotten blood on my hand from using a door handle in a public restroom. There was a man bleeding and I noticed that he did not wash his hands when exiting the restroom. After realizing this, I went and got some hand sanitizer and applied it to my hands. I rubbed the excess sanitizer on my arms and legs where I noticed some small pimples or perhaps a minor skin rash. Should I be concerned of a possible transmission of HIV?
Thank you for your help

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission after you touched a public bathroom doorknob that may have had some blood on it. You are concerned that while rubbing the excess sanitizer you used on your arms and legs that you may have acquired HIV by way of pimples or a rash. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be 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(1). It does not satisfy the equation because:

  • For transmission to occur, the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation(1) must be met: there must be HIV present in a bodily fluid (ie: in blood, semen or rectal secretions), direct access to the bloodstream (ie: inside of the vagina, anus and other mucous membranes) paired with a high risk activity (ie: unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child)(1).

  • HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2).

HIV is not transmitted by touching a doorknob. This is because HIV requires the 3 conditions of the HIV transmission equation(1), as listed above, to be met in order for transmission to occur. Your scenario does not satisfy these 3 conditions and is therefore considered No Risk. HIV is transmitted from human-to-human, and not human-to-object-to-human. HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces like a doorknob), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2). Any bodily fluids containing HIV on the doorknob, were already outside of the human body, exposed to environmental conditions and thus, unable to transmit HIV to you. HIV also needs direct assess to your bloodstream to transmit. Pimples and a minor skin rash are simply not a vehicle for direct assess to your bloodstream.

Thanks again for you question. We would encourage you to check out the resources listed below to learn more about HIV and HIV transmission.

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

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Hilary