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Superficial cut on finger/knuckle area?


Hello, one day I was playing a game of pickup basketball in the gym, and someone scratched me (most likely with their fingernail) which caused a small scratch mark on my knuckle area on my finger. It was not big at all since I didn't even notice it until the game was over. It did have some blood, but not the dripping type of blood, just blood that covered the small indent of skin that got scraped off and kind of dried up over it. Like if you were to imagine someone's fingernail scraping a piece of your skin off and blood forms and fills the area, but not dripping. Now with that being said, during the game someone else also got scratched on his arm and was bleeding. If he were to have used his hands to wipe the blood, then touch the basketball, and then the basketball were to touch my cut area, would this pose any risk? And also, if my cut area had not fully dried up yet, and his blood were to touch my cut area, would that pose any risk either? Or is this fingernail scrape not deep enough to give access to my bloodstream? What is considered deep enough for access to the bloodstream?

Thank you!


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 you scratched your knukle while playing a basketball game.

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, such as a basketball..

  • HIV needs a human host to survive. Once HIV is outside of the body and exposed to oxygen it can no longer transmit. Any blood that was on the basketball, or on the other person's skin from a scratch on their arm was outside of the body, exposes to oxygen and therefore could no longer transmit HIV.

  • HIV needs direct access to your bloodstream in order to transmit. There was no direct access to your bloodstream. Superficial cuts, such as the scratch on your knuckle, 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 deep enough to be 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.


AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online