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Transmission from cellphone


Hello, I was in HIV clinic few weeks ago (probably little paranoid visit), and during the visit I have used my cellphone while waiting in waiting room (stupid decision). My hands were also wet because it was raining that day. After I finished my visit I washed my hands twice, but I forgot to sanitize my cell phone and continue to use it regularly. Am I at risk of contracting HIV because I bite my nails and went to pee one hour after? I have touched the doorknob and pen in clinic before using my phone.



Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about HIV transmission from touching surfaces. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be no risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation. It does not satisfy the equation because as stated by the CDC, "HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host." [1] For a risk to exist, specific HIV+ fluids (e.g. semen, pre-cum, vaginal fluid, rectal fluid) must come into direct contact with the bloodstream of an HIV- person. [2]

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Ashley


  1. CDC Centers for Disease Control. HIV Transmission Basics. [Internet]. www.cdc.gov [cited September 12, 2018] Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/transmission.html
  2. Wilton, James. From exposure to infection. [Internet] www.catie.ca. [cited September 12, 2018] Available from: https://www.catie.ca/en/pif/fall-2011/exposure-infection-biology-hiv-transmission