Anonymous
Hello,

I had a situation when my bleeding wound become splashed with blood. After this incident found information from a doctor that <<Nobody has ever been known or suspected to catch HIV by contamination of a pre-existing wound.>> To be honest I am not 100% convinced to this answer. Should I follow this instruction and forget about this event?
Quote
helpline-volunteer
Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of acquiring HIV after contamination of a pre-existing, bleeding wound with blood presumably from another individual. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be Low Risk (evidence of transmission occurs through these activities when certain conditions are met).

According to the HIV Transmission Equation (see below), HIV transmission requires a bodily fluid (e.g. blood) that has direct access to the bloodstream (e.g. via open cuts and sores, sexual organs, mucosal membranes, etc.) through an High/Low/Negligible activity. 

In this scenario, the risk of transmission is heavily dependent on a few factors. First of all, the degree to which you were cut. If you only had a superficial cut, there would be No Risk, as this would not permit any hypothetical HIV positive particles in the other individual's blood to have sufficient access to your bloodstream, a necessary condition of the HIV Transmission Equation. A superficial cut is a small cut that "does not involve fat or muscle tissue" (i.e., leaves the deeper skin layers intact) and is not bleeding heavily (1). However, if you had deep cuts/profusely bleeding wounds, this would lead to a higher risk assessment due to the possibility of the other individual's blood having sufficient access to your bloodstream.

Another important consideration is the fact that HIV (contained in a body fluid such as blood) is extremely sensitive to the outer environment. Exposure to oxygen in the air causes HIV to undergo a rapid reduction in concentration (2). From the CDC, HIV contained in a fluid has a rapid (within several hours) reduction in concentration of 90-99%, which would render it inactive (2). You mentioned that the blood was splashed on you but did not provide details on the context in which this occurred. If this blood was drying on a surface, it is highly unlikely for it to cause infection for this reason. However, if this was "fresh" blood from another individual, that would warrant a higher risk assessment.

Recommendation: Refer to a health care provider for HIV testing.

All the best,
AIDS Vancouver Online/Helpline,
Shirley

If you are satisfied with the Helpline service, please consider donating.


Helpline Transmission Equation  (1).jpg
Additional Resources:
(1) Lacerations (Cuts) Without Stitches
(2) HIV Environmental Exposure

Quote

ABOUT THE HELPLINE | SUPPORT OUR WORK | RISK ASSESSMENT CHART | ANONYMOUS TESTING | DISCLAIMER | CONTACT

Charitable Registration #
10668 9896 RR0001


© 2019 helpline.aidsvancouver.org
Privacy Policy
Disclaimer

OUR ADDRESS

1101 Seymour Street
Suite 235, 2nd Floor
Vancouver, BC V6B 0R1
Canada


GET IN TOUCH

Main Phone: 604-893-2201
Fax: 604-893-2205
Email: contact@aidsvancouver.org