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Semen on bleeding scratch

Question: 

hi! Im so scared. A guy (i dunno if he is hiv positive) came on my back after protected sex. As i went to the shower, i wiped my back with the back of my hand. I the realised i had a cut on the back of my hand (i must have scratched myself against some furniture during sex). As i wiped, the wound got covered in semen. I removed the semen with soap immediately. The wound had blood on it, but looked superficial. How high is the likelihood of hiv transmission?

Answer: 

Hi there and thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver with your questions! We're happy to help.

Since there are two different activities with two different risk levels, I am going to talk about each one separately.

1) Protected sex is considered a low risk scenario, meaning that while there have been a few reports of infection attributed to this activity, they were usually under certain identifiable conditions (i.e. the condom breaking).

2) The situation with the semen on your back is a no risk scenario. Small cuts like the one you described on your hand do not pose as a risk for HIV transmission. To help with my explanation, here is a copy of the AIDS Vancouver transmission equation that we use to determine whether or not there is a risk for transmission:

HIV TRANSMISSION EQUATION

BODY FLUID
+
ACTIVITY
+
DIRECT ACCESS TO BLOODSTREAM
• blood (including menstrual) • unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse • vagina
• semen • sharing needles • anus
• pre-cum • mother to child (in specific cases) • urethra in the penis
• rectal secretions • open cuts and sores (in theory)
• vaginal fluids • other mucosal membranes
• breast milk • points of needle injection

= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION

In order for there to be a risk of HIV transmission, all 3 factors (body fluid, activity, and direct access to the bloodstream) must be present. The main thing lacking in your interaction is direct access to the bloodstream. In order for a cut or wound to provide said access, the cut needs to be gushing blood and require immediate and professional medical attention. A small cut like the one described in your question does not provide direct access to the bloodstream.

If you’re interested, here are some great resources to help further your understand about HIV Transmission:

Avert and CATIE are two fantastic and reliable website concerning HIV transmission and testing, and I highly encourage you to take a read through if you have any further questions.

I hope I was able to answer your question, and feel free to contact us with any further concerns.

Regards,

Sierra, Helpline Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
helpline.aidsvancouver.org