Anonymous
Hello there, Yesterday I went on a walk to the park with a new friend of mine who has HIV.
We were sitting in the park talking and she said her hands were cold, so I held her hands trying to warm them up.
After a few minutes she told me, "I hurt myself with the oven", and she showed me that she burnt her finger with and had 2 wounds of aprox. 1 cm each, which were not actually bleeding, but had that kind of liquid you see on burn or sores...
I often bite the skin on my fingers, and I had a few small wounds.....Not bleeding a lot, but you could still see a red blood spot.
I am sure that our wounds touch each other a few times while I was holding her hand.... Should I be worried?
Thanks
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Anonymous
Thank you for reaching out to AIDS Vancouver. It sounds like you have concerns about whether there is a risk of acquiring HIV from holding your friend's hand.

There would in all likelihood be NO RISK of acquiring HIV from holding your friend's hand in the scenario you described.

The risk of acquiring HIV associated with a given activity is determined by looking at whether the activity puts you in contact with a bodily fluid capable of transmitting HIV in a way that gives the HIV virus in that fluid direct access to your bloodstream.

Minor, superficial cuts or scrapes on your fingers would not provide direct access to the bloodstream. In addition, HIV is a relatively weak virus that cannot reproduce outside of the body, and stops being transmittable after exposure to air. The surface of your friend's hands were exposed to air before and as you held them, as were your fingers. Taken together, this means that this kind of touching would not give HIV the direct access to your bloodstream needed for you to acquire the virus.

There is a lot more information about HIV transmission at the [CATIE.org website](http://www.catie.ca/en/pif/fall-2011/exposure-infection-biology-hiv-transmission).

I hope this helps you better understand the situation. If you have further questions, you can call us for immediate assistance with general inquiries at the number below.

Yours in health,

Matt, Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday, 10am-4pm (PST)

604-253-0566 Ext. 299

Private and Confidential
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