Anonymous
Hello!I recently travelled to Switzerland for a vacation.I took the train though its not crowded, I preferred to just stand. When I went back to my hotel, I noticed this kind of scratched wound in my right forearm about 2.5 cm.I am not sure how I got it but, the area is not covered by any clothing as I folded my sweater up so I probably bumped in something sharp.The wound has some dried blood on it and it is painful when I tried cleaning it with an alcohol. 6 days after the event while travelling back to Canada,I developed 39 degree fever, loose stool and some body aches and pain.I am not so sure if this is due to changes in temperature and long travel or is this so called ARS? I have no other exposure before this and not sexually active for the past 10 months and tested negative 3 months after such last exposure.Please help! Am I at risk for HIV and do I need to get tested for this particular event? Thanks.
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Anonymous
Thank you for contacting AIDS Vancouver. I understand you're distressed and I hope the following information might help address your concerns.

To start off with, HIV is only transmittable through a bodily fluid that gets direct access to your blood stream. HIV is no longer transmittable once it is exposed to an open air environment (which would be the case for any kind of surface you might have scraped against), and a superficial wound would be very unlikely to provide the direct access to the blood stream HIV needs to infect someone. This adds up to make it incredibly unlikely that you could have been infected by whatever happened to your arm.

In addition, symptoms are an incredibly unreliable way to diagnose HIV, since there are no clinical or consistent symptoms observed among HIV positive individual. The only way to know if you have HIV is through an HIV test.

It sounds like your last HIV test was taken three months after you were last sexually active. Based on the World Health Organization's guidelines for testing, HIV tests are all conclusive at 3 months post exposure. If that's the case, you can consider your HIV test accurate.

I hope you have found this information helpful.

Yours in health,
Matt, AIDS Vancouver Volunteer



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