Anonymous
Hello, I wanted to ask if HIV transmission is possible in the following scenario. I have searched around and not found information relating to my particular scenario. Here it goes.

While I was washing my hands in a public restroom, I noticed a large booger in the sink. It was almost completely bloodied. Stupidly I tried to wash it away by pouring water on it. Now My hands had a few cuts on them and some water splashed on the bloody booger and then landed right on my one of my cuts.
A person had just left the washroom before me so I can assume the booger was from them, so not a lot of time would have passed (for the virus to die or something). So assuming that the person was HIV positive. What is my risk?
Also how long would the virus live under such moist bloodied conditions. I know that it dies rapidly in air but what about this?
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Anonymous
Hi there, and thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline forum,


It sounds like you are wondering about whether you have acquired HIV from this particular situation you had in the bathroom. Hopefully I can clearly answer your question.

You are actually at no risk of acquiring HIV because the bloody booger in the sink could not have contained the virus. The virus in the blood was exposed to air, making it no longer able to transmit.

Also, the HIV virus needs direct access to the blood stream. So the cuts on your hand would have to be so severe that they require medical attention, in order for you to have acquired HIV.

To help you better understand how HIV transmission. There is this chart you can take a look at:

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 for your question about how long the virus lives under moist blood: the HIV virus in any bodily fluid (like blood, semen, rectal secretions, vaginal fluids) that has been exposed to air cannot any longer be transmittable.

I hope I was able to answer your questions. If you have any more questions about transmission of HIV you can always visit our website. Thanks for your questions!

Jasmine (volunteer)

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Phone: 604-253-0566 ext 299

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