Anonymous

I sat on a dirty chair. And I think there were needles or nails poking out the cushion which I didn’t see and proceeded to scratch my fingers on them.

the skin broke, but it didn’t bleed.

the needles were also dry and I didn’t get blood or anything on my fingers... 

assuming that somebody’s dried bodily fluid was on the nail... and it broke my skin. am I at risk of HIV?

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helpline-volunteer
Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from your question you are asking about the possibility of HIV Transmission in the event that dried fluid on a nail had come into contact, or punctured your skin. 

From the information given this scenario has been determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario). 

The scenario above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation (see below). 

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In order for transmission to occur, a number of requirements must be met. HIV transmission requires the presence of HIV positive fluid (such as semen, vaginal fluid, pre-cum, rectal fluid, breastmilk, etc), coupled with a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity, that provides the virus with direct access to the bloodstream. 

In the scenario you described, you suffered a superficial wound that was not deep enough to cause bleeding. In this case, there has been no direct access to the bloodstream through any activity that would warrant a risk of HIV transmission. 

Additionally, the activity you described above is of No Risk because "HIV does not survive long outside the human body (such as on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside a human host" (1). Due to exposure to oxygen,  HIV undergoes a rapid reduction in concentration. Therefore, in the event that the nail did come in contact with bodily fluid, the exposure to oxygen, coupled with the fact that there was no direct access to the bloodstream, means there is No Risk of transmission from this activity.

Recommendation: There is no evidence or documented cases of transmission. 

HIV inactive CDC (1)

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Sonali and Ashley 

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