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Small cut in contact with pipe and clothes

Question: 

Hello,

This morning I got a small cut on my thumb, approx 1-2cm. Then later in the evening, about 12 hours later, I came into contact with the clothing and a pipe of a person who has HIV. The pipe was a small glass pipe. This pipe was not being used by the person or I at the time, and I did not use the pipe, though I'm certain the person has used the pipe before. I merely may have touched it for a split second, I honestly don't even recall if I touched it with my bare hand, but I may have. I also handled some of the person's clothing and bedding that had been sitting on the ground for a while. I handled these items prior to my knowledge of the HIV status of the person. Is there any chance I may have contracted HIV? Thanks

Answer: 

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.

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, clothing, food, a pipe, bedding, etc.

  • HIV cannot be transmitted by casual touch, ie: a hand shake or a hug, etc.

  • HIV needs a human host to survive. Once HIV is outside of the body and exposed to oxygen it can no longer transmit. This means that any bodily fluids that you came into contact with while handling certain objects were outside of the body, exposed to oxygen and thus could no longer transmit HIV to you.

  • HIV needs direct access to your bloodstream in order to transmit. There was no direct access to your bloodstream. Superficial cuts, such as the small cut on your hand, 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, this was not the case in your situation.

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

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

Hilary

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

helpline.aidsvancouver.org