Anonymous
I threw a paper towel away after washing my hands, closed the door and then picked into my broken tooth to pull food out. Can the doorknob transmit HIV, since I used that hand to pick food out of my broken tooth?
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. I am sorry to hear about you concern. Let me try to clarify some things for you.

HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. This means the virus can only be in the human body and can only be transmitted between humans. With this said, there is no way the virus could have been on a door knob and then go into your body through your broken tooth.

To explain further, HIV is a very weak virus that requires a live host to survive. In this case, the live host are human beings. When the virus exits the body and is exposed to the environment, it is broken down and is no longer able to transmit the virus. For this reason, to be infected with HIV, you need to have direct access for the virus to enter your bloodstream. Along with direct access, you also need to have 2 other factors for HIV transmission to occur. 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 were not exposed to body fluids, you did not engage in a high risk activity and there was no direct access to your bloodstream. Since you have to have all of these factors for transmission and you have none, you are not at risk.

I hope this addresses your concern. Please feel free to contact us if you have anymore questions or refer to this site for further information on how [HIV](http://www.avert.org/can-you-get-hiv.htm) is transmitted.

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