Anonymous
Hi:
I was at a restaurant and drank water from a small white porcelain cup. When I turned the cup to its side, I noticed a thin, bright red line on it (similar to that from a red pen). I had a suspicion that it was blood, and I used my finger to wipe it. It left a fading brown streak there and I was positive that it was blood. Immediately I went to wash my finger with water and soap rigorously, but at that time I did not wash my mouth at all until several hours after I left the restaurant.

My questions are the following:
1. Especially since the blood streak on the cup was bright red, I'm not sure if the blood was left there recently or not, so I cannot determine if it is no longer infectious. Could I possibly get an infection if my mouth/lips/gums come into contact with infected water? My lips do have some small wounds (not actively bleeding, but if I stretch my lips enough, a relatively deep wound is visible, almost as if my bottom lips have two pieces that are separate from each other. That evening, when I was brushing my teeth, my gums also had blood coming out from them, so I am also afraid that my gums were also vulnerable at that time.

2. If my mouth, lips, or gums came into direct contact with the blood streak left on the cup, what are the risks of infection?

3. What about consuming water that came into contact with blood? What are the risks?

3. I am reasonably positive that washing my finger (which had no wounds) should solve the issue, but I'd like a word of confirmation as well.

Should I seek treatment as soon as possible?
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you are asking if you can acquire the HIV virus from blood that has been exposed to oxygen whether on a cup or in water. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be no risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). Any exposure to oxygen will render HIV inactive, and water contains oxygen. Thus, there is no risk of acquiring the virus in this particular scenario.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Sara
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