Bill
Hi there, 

I am here to seek some professional advice on HIV exposure.

Days ago, my roommate put his wet underwear near the sink and I accidentally touched it and then I washed my hands with tap water. 1 or 2 minutes later, I touched the new scratches on my arm that was less than 6 hours old and was still a bit bleeding. How likely am I exposed to HIV in this scenario? I don't know whether he is positive or not.

Thanks a lot in advance.
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helpline-volunteer
Hello,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about HIV transmission from touching your roommate's wet underwear, given that you touched the relatively new scratches on your arm a few minutes later after washing your hands. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation (see below). HIV transmission requires the transfer of a HIV positive fluid (such as blood, semen, etc.), coupled with a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity that provides the HIV virus with direct access to the bloodstream.
[Transmission%20Equation]
In your situation, the reason why there is no risk of HIV transmission is because the virus, if present, would have been exposed to air. Firstly, the presence of an HIV positive fluid on your roommate's wet underwear is unlikely (I'm assuming it's wet and near the sink because he just washed it). Even if there was, exposure to air would essentially destroy the virus (1). Therefore, touching your wound after touching the underwear that's been left out in the open and then washing your hands would not confer HIV transmission.


Recommendation: No need for HIV test with the scenario provided. Refer to a healthcare professional for other health-related questions.

Regards,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Ryan


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Resources:
1) CDC HIV Transmission
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