Anonymous
I presently live in a condominium but there are minor repairs being done in my floor involving some pipes and so there are few construction workers there. The dumpster is located on the ground and one time, I threw some of my rubbish in there but I accidentally touched something in the cover which is like a folded plastic bag which has some reddish stains on it.When I went back to my unit, my phone was ringing and so I answered it and completely forgot to wash my hands.Now, I realized I could have touched my eyes and mouth while talking to the phone.After I realized what happened, I checked the plastic bag for what it was.It felt dry and tried putting water into it as well as alcohol but it did not come off.I was thinking that it was some kind of dark red paint from the pipe but it could also be dried blood from one of the workers who could have been injured while working and rubbed it on the bag.My imagination could be running wild but I am probably a bit worried but in case the stain was indeed blood and the person was HIV positive, was this event put me at risk for HIV too? I did not feel any wetness but I am worried and could not check whether it's a paint or blood.Thank you.
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Anonymous
Hi there and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline.

Even if the red substance you touched was blood, there is no risk of acquiring HIV from this incident. This is for two main reasons: (1) When HIV in bodily fluids (such as blood) is exposed to the air it becomes non-transmissible. Any blood you may have touched would have been exposed to the air and would not contain transmissible HIV. (2) HIV is not transmitted through contact with skin as there is no access to the bloodstream. Even if you had a small cut on your hand this would not provide enough access to the bloodstream. The only types of cuts that would be any cause for concern would be large, deep cuts that bleed a lot and would need immediate medical attention or stitches.

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 10am-4pm (PST)

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