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Risk of contraction?


Hello, I'm a dental student. I was polishing a restoration, and my hands which had gloves graced the bur I have a small red spot on the area. I check my glove it had no holes and I also did not bleed from this area. I felt this area and also it does not have a feeling of any flesh missing it looked more like a pimple if anything. The bur is sort of like a drill head, I've been told a bur same as a razor unlike a needle is not air sealed thus the virus will die within seconds, Moreover the fact that if at all it was a superficial cut it should not be of any concern. I just want some confirmation about this. Thanks.


Hi there, and thanks a lot for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline for you HIV/AIDS related health information.

It sounds like you are concerned about your risk of HIV transmission after your hands, which had gloves on them, graced a bur while you were performing a dental procedure.

The situation that you have described is a No Risk situation. Here are some of the reasons why:

  • HIV is a Human-to-Human virus. It cannot be transmitted to you by an object (a bur).

  • HIV needs a human host to survive. Once HIV is outside of the body and exposed to oxygen it can no longer transmit. Any bodily fluids that were on your hands were outside of the body, exposed to oxygen and therefore could not transmit HIV to you.

  • HIV needs direct access to your bloodstream in order to transmit. There was no direct access to your bloodstream. You are right that superficial cuts simply do not provide the conditions necessary for transmission to occur. For superficial cuts to potential provide direct access to the bloodstream, they would have to be actively bleeding and in need of stitches or surgery to repair. From what I understand, the bur did not even pierce your glove or skin.

I would encourage you to check out the following resources about HIV:

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.


AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online