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risk from cut-to-cut handshake?


Is is possible for HIV transmission when 2 persons with slightly bleeding cuts shake hands with each other and the wounds come into contact with each other? I cannot guarantee whether both person's cuts are bleeding or not. Do i need to go for a HIV test?


Hi there and thank you for using AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source for HIV/AIDS related information.

In order to make HIV transmission through hand shaking slightly more possible, it would require both parties to have deep open cuts (e.g. deep knife cuts) and are actively bleeding. That is because HIV transmission requires an exchange of a significant volume of HIV+ body fluids and a direct pathway to the bloodstream. Since HIV is extremely sensitive to air and external environment, it dies immediately within a few seconds once it is exposed to the air.

A small cut is not an example of a direct pathway to bloodstream. In fact, your bloodstream is still being protected by other skin layers.

Hand shaking can transmit happiness but not HIV. Therefore, you do not need to get a HIV test for this situation at all.

All the best,