Anonymous
If say someone who is HIV positive had cut themselves and gotten a drop of blood on your arm(which has healthy unbroken skin) is there a risk of HIV? How long can HIV live in a drop of blood?and could I just clean it off with normal hand soap and water and not worry anymore? Thank you for your help
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Anonymous
Hi there, thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver helpline with your HIV related questions and concerns. we are happy to help!

I am attaching the HIV Transmission Equation below, which will make it easier to see exactly what is required for HIV to be passed on:


HIV TRANSMISSION EQUATION


BODY FLUID
+
ACTIVITY
+
DIRECT ACCESS TO BLOODSTREAM
---------- -------- ----------------------------
• 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
Okay, now to answer your question.

The situation you described would be characterized as No Risk. There are two reasons for this:

1) In order to acquire HIV, the virus must have direct access to the blood stream. Healthy unbroken skin would not provide this. In fact, even most cuts and scrapes would not provide this. In order for a wound to provide direct access to the blood stream, it must be large enough to require medical attention, such as stitches.

2) HIV virus, once exposed to air, cannot be passed on. So therefore as soon as bodily fluids are exposed to air, there is no risk for HIV transmission. That is why it is necessary for direct contact of bodily fluids in order for HIV transmission to be possible.

Therefore, there should be no worry associated!

Hopefully this helped, and check out our website at aidsvancouver.org for more general information!

Sincerely,

Christina

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

Monday-Friday 10am-4pm PST

604 253 0566 Ext 299

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= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION