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Risk from external surface but on active bleeding


God bless you for your help on assessing risks.

My risk is - There was blood draw happening for many patients in a row. After my blood draw, nurse put band-aid on my arm as I was having small blood coming out. The band-aids she was using were already opened for readily use. Opened bandages were slightly stick in a tray. I noticed that the tray was having lot of red blood spots all over, may be from her gloves because her gloves were having blood and she was not changing gloves after every patient. It went so quick that I could not stop her. But now I am worried what if the band-aid swab (cotton part) was soaked with infected blood from tray or from her hands. Then that touched my actively bleeding dot and HIV might got a passage from that contact - if I think from microscopic view.

I read HIV don't transmit from surface it is reactive only inside human body. But we have documented cases of HIV from dental procedure which can be considered as surface.

Request you to please advise should I go for Post-Exposure Prophylaxis as it just happened today


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

It seems you're concerned about the possibility of HIV transmission.

The situation that you have described is a No Risk situation. This means that to our knowledge, none of the practices in this category have ever been demonstrated to lead to HIV infection.


  • HIV needs a human host to survive. Once HIV is outside of the body and exposed to oxygen it can no longer transmit. Any fluids on the nurse's gloves, or the bandage/cotton swab are outside or the body and exposed to oxygen.

  • HIV is a Human-to-Human virus. You cannot get HIV from touching an object to your pinpoint wound (ie: a bandage, a cotton swab, gloves)

Most health care providers will recommend PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis) for high risk situations. The side effects of PEP are quite severe and you may be sick for a few days. PEP must be taken within 72 hours post exposure. That being said, it is your choice whether or not to take PEP. I would advise you to speak with your health care provider to determine if PEP is right from you.

I would also encourage you to check out the following resources for more information about HIV:

Thank you again for contacting AIDS Vancouver Helpline Online



AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online