Anonymous
Hello, I recently went to dental clinic for routine dental check ,  I was actually peeling my Lower lip and very little bleeding was there due to peeling off dry skin of lower lip. My fear is that the dentist used the same glove which he used on previous patient since the glove was just lying on the dentist table and certainly looked used one.  And after wearing the gloves he was touching my gums and also the gloves were touching my lower lips which was peeled with v little bleeding when u touch or press the lip
can you please tell me what is the risk in this scenarios ? 
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helpline-volunteer
Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission from potentially used gloves that were in contact with cut/bleeding lips. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

Even if the gloves did have HIV positive fluid from another patient on them, HIV (contained in a body fluid such as blood) is extremely sensitive to the outer environment. Exposure to oxygen in the air causes HIV to undergo a rapid reduction in concentration (1). From the CDC, HIV contained in a fluid has a rapid (within several hours) reduction in concentration of 90-99%, which would render it inactive (1). You mentioned that the gloves were in contact with your gums; it is also worth mentioning that HIV does not spread through saliva (2). Saliva can "inhibit HIV replication in infected cells and can rapidly kill HIV-infected leukocytes" (3). Lastly, you brought up that your lip was slightly bleeding. In addition to the fact that any HIV positive fluid would have essentially been inactivated due to oxygen, small superficial cuts such as the one on your lip would not permit any hypothetical HIV positive particles from another individual to have sufficient access to your bloodstream, a necessary condition of the HIV Transmission Equation (see below). For these reasons,  your have No Risk of HIV transmission in this situation.

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

Take care,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Shirley

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Helpline Transmission Equation  (1).jpg
Additional Resources: 
(1) HIV Environmental Exposure
(2) HIV Transmission Basics
(3) The Oral Mucosa Immune Environment and Oral Transmission of HIV/SIV
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