Anonymous
Hi today when I was wearing my shoes I saw a small BLOODY piece of napkin on my foot. I immediately wiped it aways and used one of those sanitizing wipes. I'm not sure for how long this was on my foot or even if I had a cut or wether the blood was dry or not. I live with 4 other girls and one of them is on her period. Since I had gone to bathroom before that, I imagine this might be from her. What should I do?..is PEP recommended?
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Anonymous
Hello there!

Thank you for using AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source for HIV/AIDS related information.

PEP is only recommended in situations where there is a significant exposure from a known HIV-positive source or from a high-risk but unknown HIV status source. Given the situation you described, you are absolutely not at risk for acquiring HIV and do not require PEP. Let me explain why.

HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, where the host is human. HIV is not transferred from a person to an object to a person - it specifically requires a person-to-person transmission with a direct access for the virus to enter the bloodstream. This is because HIV is a very fragile virus, and it dies once it leaves the human body and is exposed to air. Therefore, even if the blood on the napkin was fresh and HIV positive, the virus would have died long before it came into contact with your foot.

Here is the equation for HIV transmission, which lays out the general criteria needed for HIV acquisition:

---------

BODY FLUID WITH HIGH LEVELS OF HIV (blood, semen, rectal secretions, pre-cum, vaginal fluids, breast milk)

+

ACTIVITY (unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, sharing needles, mother to child)

+

DIRECT ACCESS FOR THE VIRUS TO ENTER THE BLOODSTREAM (vagina, anus, urethra in the penis, open cuts and sores, other mucosal membranes, points of needle injection)

= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION

---------

It might also be helpful to check out the risk assessment chart at our Helpline website, which outlines the risk level for other possible activities with regards to transmission of HIV: [http://helpline.aidsvancouver.org/question/risk-assessment-chart](http://helpline.aidsvancouver.org/question/risk-assessment-chart).

In short, you have definitely not acquired HIV, nor at the risk of acquiring HIV, and therefore do not require any medication or testing.

I hope this answers your question. Please feel free to contact us again if you have further questions or concerns.

Hani

AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer
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