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Picking up dirty dishes with a splinter / cut wound


I work as a waiter at a restaurant. I regularly pick up dirty dishes with my hands without the use of gloves or anything in between. I also don't handle the washing of dishes so I basically do not wash my hands until the end of the shift. But I don't take dishes out to the tables so I think I'm fine without washing hands.

Today it just hit me that I got a cut on my finger the other day, as well as a splinter wound on the other hand. Would picking up dirty dishes put me at risk for HIV? Let's just say that some HIV+ person bled into one of the plates that I just happened to make contact with my cut wound / splinter.


Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of HIV transmission in a scenario where HIV positive blood had come into contact with your cut finger through a plate of food.

From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). HIV positive fluids outside of the body cause HIV to undergo a rapid reduction in concentration. HIV does not survive long outside of the human body (such as on surfaces) and it cannot reproduce outside a human host (1). For this reason, any HIV positive fluid that you may have come into contact with from dishes at the restaurant in which you worked do not pose any risk for HIV transmission.

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

All the best,

AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline, Cody