Anonymous
This afternoon I was at home, and as I was walking over to the other side of the room to get my hat, I stepped on a rusted nail in a small trash pile that my father did not clean up. Can HIV be transmitted by rusted nails, or should I just worry about tetanus? I don't think it poked into my skin, but I am not certain.
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

I am sorry to hear you hurt yourself today but I am happy to tell you that you cannot get HIV from a nail or any inanimate object. HIV is a virus that can only be passed from human to human. For HIV transmission to occur, you need to have 3 factors. These factors are listed in the table 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, you have none of the factors listed in this table. Even if the nail did have body fluids on it, the blood and nail would have been exposed to the environment, preventing direct access for the virus to enter the bloodstream. Direct access is necessary because HIV is a very weak virus that is broken down the moment it exits the body. When this occurs, the virus is no longer able to cause infection. For these reasons, you are not at risk and you do not need to get tested.

I hope this helps you. If you would like to know more about HIV/AIDS, please refer to this [link](http://www.avert.org/can-you-get-hiv.htm) for more information. Please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions.

Best wishes,

Mary

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday 10am-4pm (PST)

604 253 0566 Ext. 299

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= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION