Anonymous
hi.

recently, I was putting some garbage in a trashcan, and I had to push the garbage into it a bit.

a few minutes later, I realized a scratch on my finger, and a wave of paranoia hit me.

I searched the garbage can, suspecting needles, but I couldn't find any.

if, say, there was a needle in the garbage and it did scratch me, would I be at risk for HIV?

I didn't really feel an scratch, and I don't recall it bleeding badly, but it did scab.

I'm really worried about this, and need some advice.

thank you so much.
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Anonymous
Hi there, thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver helpline with your HIV related questions and concerns. We're happy to help!

I understand that this might have been a concerning situation, but hopefully my answer will help to ease some of your worries.

The situation you describe is No Risk for two different reasons!

1) Whatever you got scratched by (whether it be a needle or just a sharp object or anything) was exposed to the general envrionment outside of the human body. When HIV is outside of the body, it becomes damaged and inactivated and can no longer be passed on, eliminating any risk. Therefore, even if there was bodily fluids present on the surface of the object that scratched you, there would be no risk. The only risk associated with needles is if they're a syringe needle with a barrel, since the barrel doesn't have any air or anything inside, it provides a temporary environment in which the virus can survive. However, for this to be a risk you need to be actively injected with a used needle. A scratch from a needle doesn't have any risk associated with it.

2) The scratch caused would not provide direct access to the blood stream. Surface wounds are not sufficient to do so, but rather only wounds that are severe enough to gush blood or need immediate and professional medical attention such as stitches.

Overall, there is no risk in this situation, so there's no reason to be concerned or worry about getting tested!

I hope this helped! Please check out our website or avert.org for more information about HIV!

Sincerely,

Christina

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday 9am-5pm (PST)

1 844 INFO-HIV (Toll free Canada & U.S.)

helpline@aidsvancouver.org

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