Anonymous
Hello!

Im very new in the country and probably still adjusting but recently, while in a public transport, I got accidentally hit by a man carrying bouquet of flowers in my left elbow and developed some scratches on it. I would assume that some sharp objects like the thorn of the flowers did it to me.I suppose , its just the thorns. Pardon my lack of knowledge, but my question is, can HIV be transmitted this way if the sharp objects within the bouquet of flowers are contaminated by the virus? I did not see any oozing blood from the scratches but for sure they hurt and stung after I washed the area with alcohol immediately after I reached my apartment. This came as a worry as I have read mixed information about HIV. Am I at risk in this situation and need testing too as well?. Please help. Thank you very much in advance.
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thanks for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as a source for HIV related information.

HIV is a weak virus that dies once exposed to oxygen. There is no possibility of HIV being transmitted to you through the thorns of flowers, even if the thorns had cut you. This means that you do not need to get tested for HIV. Let me explain why.

HIV transmission requires the following:

1. Body fluids containing high levels of HIV, e.g. blood, semen, and vaginal/rectal secretions,

2. A high-risk activity, e.g. unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or the sharing of needles,

3. The direct access of the blood into the blood stream, e.g. through the vagina, anus, or points of needle injection, and

4. A controlled environment, which means *no exposure to oxygen*. Sites like the vagina or anus are considered controlled environments where the virus can be transmitted, whereas a thorn is not (since it is fully exposed to oxygen).

I trust I have addressed your concerns and given you more clarity on HIV transmission. Feel free to refer to our website, [www.aidsvancouver.org](http://www.aidsvancouver.org/), for more information on HIV and AIDS, or to contact us again.

In good health,

Tiina

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
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