Anonymous
Hello. I was in the bathroom and went to get a paper towel when I realized it had blood on it from the person before me. I do have several cuts on my hands, and I'm worried the wet blood could've gotten through.
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for contacting AIDS Vancouver. I will go over how HIV is transmitted to help clarify your situation.

For transmission to occur three elements must be present, shown in the chart below.
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  
As you can see from above the blood from the paper towel would need a direct access point to your bloodstream. This would not happen with typical cuts on your hands. The kind of cuts that provide access to the bloodstream are severe cuts, the type that require medical attention such as stitches. It is also important to know that once the virus has been exposed to the environment it is no longer capable of transmitting, so blood on the paper towel, even if it came from a person living with HIV would not be able to transmit the virus. Something that helps to think about is that HIV is a human to human virus.

I hope this information will reassure you that there is no risk of transmission based on the situation you have described.

Best regards,

Alex

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (PST)

1 844 INFO-HIV (Toll free Canada & U.S.)

helpline@aidsvancouver.org

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= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION