Anonymous
Hello! I am a little concerned about a recent situation that leads me to be worrying.We'll ,I live in a neighborhood with people coming from all sorts of backgrounds and jobs. One evening, I threw some trash into the outside garbage container and of course,I have to touch the cover to lift it as it was built that way.After few minutes. I happened to rub my eyes unconsciously from the same hand that touched the cover.It was unfortunate that I forgot to wash my hands.I am now concerned if the garbage can cover is contaminated with HIV fluid and I touched it and transferred straight into my eyes after rubbing it. I checked the garbage container cover and saw few drops of something 'oily' liquid on it. I don't think I touched those areas but of course I was not sure. Im not sure if the liquids on it are from food or semen or blood.I did not feel some wetness in my hands from it though. Is this scenario possible or I am over thinking? Any need for testing? Thanks
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Anonymous
Hi there and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.

I understand from your forum post that you are concerned about your risk of HIV infection after touching a garbage container. The situation as you described it puts you at no risk of HIV infection and you do not require testing. This is because HIV is not transmitted casually, and for there to be any risk of transmission, several conditions would need to be met. These conditions include the exchange of body fluids (such as semen, blood) + engaging in high risk activity (such as unprotected anal/vaginal sex, needle sharing) + direct access to the blood stream.

As you can see from the transmission equation presented above, touching a contaminated surface of any kind without the presence of other conditions such as direct access to the bloodstream would not constitute a risk for HIV transmission. Additionally, it is important to understand that HIV is a weak virus that does not survive longer than a few minutes outside of the human body. So, even if the garbage container was contaminated with HIV, it is more than likely to be dead by the time you touched it (and touching the surface alone is constitutes no risk).

I trust that I have answered your question. Feel free to contact us again if you have further inquiries. You can also visit our website at http://www.aidsvancouver.org for additional information on HIV risk and testing.

In health,

Malath

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online
Monday - Friday 10 AM-4PM (PST)
604 253 0566 Ext. 299
private and confidential
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