Anonymous
Hi, I'm 13 years old and the other day i was in a public restroom and I grazed an open used pad with my finger when disposing my own. I had no cuts or anything. I washed my hands after, but I'm worried that I didnt wash them well enough... I also ate a snack after. Am I at risk for hiv? And should I get tested? thanks for your help.
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Anonymous
Hi there, and thanks a lot for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline for you HIV/AIDS related health information. It sounds like you are concerned about your risk of HIV transmission after having touched a soiled sanitary napkin while disposing your own.

When assessing risk of HIV transmission, we can refer to the HIV Transmission Equation 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

The situation that you have described is a No Risk situation. Here are some of the reasons why:

* HIV is a Human-to-Human virus. It cannot be transmitted to you by an object. For example, a used sanitary napkin.

* HIV needs a human host to survive. Once HIV is outside of the body and exposed to oxygen it can no longer transmit. Any bodily fluids containing HIV on the soiled sanitary napkin you touched had been outside of the body, exposed to oxygen, and thus HIV could no longer transmit.

* Saliva has an enzyme that inhibits the transmission of HIV. Anything you ate for a snack would have been in contact with your saliva.

* HIV needs direct access to your bloodstream in order to transmit. There was no direct access to your bloodstream.

I would also encourage you to check out the following resources about HIV:

  • Smart Sex Resource


  • Risk Assessment Chart


  • HIV Basics


  • Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. Feel free to contact us anytime!

    Hilary

    AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
    helpline.aidsvancouver.org
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    = RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION