Anonymous
Hello - Thanks for taking my question. I was on a cruise ship out of Singapore which had rock climbing as an activity. I did that and had 2 huge scratches on my leg and the skin was cut while doing rock climbing. The size is approximately a small coin's size for both the areas where my skin had peeled and there was bleeding as well though not severe.

I just have a few questions:
1. There were lots of people doing rock climbing. If there was someone's fresh blood ( from a minute or so before) in the same area where I had scratched myself and If I was in contact with that blood through my 2 coin sized scratches where I had bleeding and skin was exposed and not intact, do I need to be worried about HIV transmission through that?

2. Please let me know if I need to do any testing for this or need to see a Doctor.

3. Is this Zero risk for HIV? Meaning absolutely no risk for HIV transmission.

I am really worried about HIV. Kindly confirm that HIV cannot be transmitted in this mode Thanks much for your help.

If it is Zero risk, I am just curious of the science behind this - Is it because the exposure needs to be deeper into the skin or is it because much more infected blood is required? Sorry for these questions - I read on a climber's website that this is a potential exposure and so I was worried. Thanks for your time again
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Anonymous
Hi there and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline.

You will be happy to know that the situation you described is a no risk exposure. It is considered to be no risk for 2 main reasons: (1) when HIV in bodily fluids (such as blood) is exposed to the air it becomes non-transmissible. Any blood or other fluids that may have been on the climbing wall would have been exposed to the air and would not contain transmissible HIV. (2) Smaller cuts on the skin are not a risk for acquiring HIV because they do not provide enough access to the bloodstream. The only cuts that could potentially provide access to the bloodstream and may be cause for concern would be very large, deep cuts that bleed profusely and would need medical attention or stitches.

Based on the situation you described there is no need to get tested or seek medical attention.

For more information about HIV you can visit CATIE.ca or the AIDS Vancouver website.

I hope this information helps to answer your questions.

Isla (Volunteer)

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday to Friday 9am-5pm (PST)

1-844-INFO-HIV (Toll-Free in Canada & USA)

Private and Confidential
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