Anonymous
Hi, I have some questions about HIV.

Recently, I went to a party, and some drunk guy stuck his finger in my ear, for some reason. I got a little worried, and started cleaning out my ear with some tissues. I didn't recall seeing any blood, and I don't believe I have any cuts in or around my ear, but I'm still a little concerned. Could a finger in the ear, possibly with some blood or other HIV fluid, be a transmission risk?

Also, could you explain how the ear is or isn't a risk for possible HIV infection?

Thanks a bunch!
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Anonymous
Hi there, thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline with your HIV related questions/concerns. We're happy to help!

I understand this was a worrisome situation for you, but hopefully my answer will help to ease your worries!

I'm happy to let you know that this is a No Risk situation for two reasons!

1) HIV is a delicate virus that cannot survive being outside of the human body. This means that any bodily fluids outside of the body (such as on the outside of the finger) would be exposed to the general outside environment, and when this happens they become damaged and inactivated and can no longer be passed on. This eliminates any risk!

2) Your ear would not provide direct access to the blood stream, the only things that do are mucous membranes (such as ones in the anal cavity and the vagina, or through the urethra) and, in theory, cuts/wounds. The reason I say "in theory" is that this is not a typical site of HIV transmission, the reason being, that wounds need to be very severe (such as gushing blood or needing immediate medical attention like stitches) to provide direct access to the bloodstream, which is necessary for infection. So even if you had cuts and stuff around your ear, they wouldn't pose a risk.

So overall this is No Risk!!

This transmission equation lays it all out really clearly


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

I hope this helped to answer your question. Visit our website or avert.org for further HIV information!

Sincerely,

Christina


AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

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