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wrist that got cut

Question: 

I cut myself when I was at work today handling some lumber. I had about a one inch cut quite deep. someone at work grabbed me on the wrist that got cut with their hand. if they were bleeding could the blood have gotten into my cut and given me hiv??

Answer: 

Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission after you cut yourself quite deep while handling some lumber at work, and a co-worker grabbed that same wrist. The co-worker also had a cut on their hand, and you could not tell it is was bleeding or not. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be Negligible Risk (There are no evidence or no documented cases of transmission. However, there is a theoretical possibility).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet all three components of the transmission equation(1). It does not satisfy the equation because:

  • For transmission to occur, the three components of the HIV Transmission Equation(1) must be met: there must be HIV present in a bodily fluid (ie: in blood, semen or rectal secretions), direct access to the bloodstream (ie: inside of the vagina, anus and other mucous membranes) paired with a high risk activity (ie: unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child)(1).

  • HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2).

HIV requires the 3 conditions of the HIV transmission equation(1), as listed above, to be met in order for transmission to occur. Your scenario does not satisfy all 3 conditions. HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on the surface of the skin), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host(2). Any bodily fluids containing HIV on your co-worker's hand, were already outside of the human body, exposed to environmental conditions and thus, unable to transmit HIV to you.

We are not sure how deep your cut was, generally we say that if it was deep enough to require stitches, then it could theoretically provide direct assess to your bloodstream. From the description provided above, it does not seem that you required stitches, and, the cut on the hand of your co-worker was not gushing blood directly onto your cut. In fact, you state that you could not even tell if your co-worker's cut was bleeding. Superficial cuts, meaning cuts that do not required stitches, are generally not deep enough to provide direct access to the bloodstream. Your co-worker touching your hand with their hand while having a scabbed over cut on it, simply does not provide direct assess to your bloodstream. Casual touch is not a vehicle by which HIV is transmitted. There are a lot of "what-ifs" in this scenario, which is why it has been classified as Negligible Risk, meaning that there are no evidence or documented cases of transmission this way. However, there is a theoretical possibility.

Thanks again for you question. We would encourage you to check out the resources listed below to learn more about HIV and HIV transmission.

Recommendation: There are no evidence or no documented cases of transmission. Refer to a healthcare professional for more personalised answers

Regards, AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Hilary