Hello, I want to congratulate you on the hard work first
For me, I'm a lab technician that works in a Bio Tech company. My coworker has disclosed his HIV status to me and told that he has been HIV positive for eight years. I have been working with his for about a year. We usually use cutters to cut plastics off the bags. I used his cutter multiple times before and I'm not sure if I cut myself with it as sometimes I would be surprised to see that my gloves are ripped accidentally by the cutter. I'm not sure if he has ever cut himself with that cutter before. Let's say he did, and then I cut myself with a micro tear? What is my risk? Also sometimes I wiped my eyes with my gloves on. If the cutter had his blood on then could it be transmitted to the gloves and then to my eyes? I'm nervous. He told me that he has been undetectable for years , but stopped taking medication for six months and started taking them again now. When should I test I'm not sure when I might of cut myself or touched that cutter. I went to the CDC and it says that transmission through eye or broken skin is (0.09%) that is higher than unprotected vaginal sex ( 0.04%) I'm nervous
Thank you very much
Hello, thanks a lot for your question to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline forums.

That's great your coworker decided to disclose his HIV status to you, and that you're seeking out information from reputable sources. It seem that you are concerned about HIV being transmitted through some of the activities you both do at work. We will provide you some information here that will help you better understand HIV and transmission.

The activities you're describing are absolutely no risk activities. Once HIV has left the body in some fluid, it is extremely difficult for it to get back in. Three things are required for HIV to be transmitted, as depicted by our transmission equation:


---------- -------- ----------------------------
• 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
You'll see that open cuts and sores are potential entry points, but transmission actually requires large amounts of fluid and large wounds (typically those you'd have after major dental work).

We're not sure what statistics you're referring to, but unprotected vaginal sex is something we consider a high risk activity. If you're thinking about numbers in terms of your situation, unprotected vaginal sex would certainly carry a much higher risk of transmission than the situations you're describing at work.

As we said, it's really great your coworker decided to open up the dialogue about his HIV status in your workplace. If you have any other questions, we encourage you to check out one of our favourite resources at [CATIE](

Thank you for your question to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.


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