« Go Back

HIV risk from touching surface to eyes?

Question: 

Help! I went into vacation to one of the countries in Asia and I was booked by my travel agency to a hotel where I thought located in the red district. One time, I took the elevator and press one of the buttons and just few minutes, my eyes got very itchy and eventually rubbed them with the same fingers that touched the buttons. I normally won't touch my eyes after touching those buttons or use a facial tissue. Is there any HIV risk if one of those buttons was pressed by an HIV positive persons and I touched the same button and rubbed my eyes with those fingers that touched the button?

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of acquiring HIV from rubbing eyes after touching elevator button. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (Transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario)

Only certain body fluids—blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk—from a person who has HIV can transmit HIV. These fluids must come in contact with a mucous membrane or damaged tissue or be directly injected into the bloodstream (from a needle or syringe) for transmission to occur. Mucous membranes are found inside the rectum, vagina, penis, and mouth.

HIV outside of the body or drying HIV causes a rapid (within several hours) 1-2 log (90%-99%) reduction in HIV concentration [1] Quote from CDC: "HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host.

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

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, (Vardah)