Anonymous
Hello! I hope you can answer my question.I recently went to eat in a nearby food court and spent some good 30 minutes.When I went home, I noticed an estimated 2cm scratch in my left forearm.There were some dried blood on it but its not actively bleeding.I could not remember how I got it but probably I hit my arm in the edge of the table.My concern is if this is a risk for HIV? The table where I seated has just been used by someone before I took it. Is HIV transmission possible this way if the edge of the table might have contained some infectious fluid that got transferred to me in the scratch wound.Help! Im worried.Thank you.
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Anonymous
Hello, thank you for contacting us at AIDS Vancouver we are happy to help

It sounds as though you are concerned about the risk of HIV transmission after getting a scratch from a table which may have had some body fluids on it. This is actually NOT a risk for HIV transmission because of several reasons.

1. The wound that you are describing is what we would call a 'superficial wound'. Although there was some dried blood on it, it is not a wound that would provide direct access to your bloodstream. The only types of wounds that would be a direct access to the bloodstream are deep, serious wounds that would require immediate medical attention (eg. needing stitches for a large cut).

2. Even if there were body fluids on the table, they would not be able to transmit HIV anyway because the live virus cannot be on a surface exposed to air. I have posted the transmission equation below to help clarify the only ways that HIV can be transmitted.

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

For these reasons, there is no risk for HIV transmission in your case. Hopefully this information was helpful to you and can put your mind at ease.

Sincerely,

Raveena

AV volunteer
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= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION