Anonymous
I was getting a pedicure today.  While the lady was scrubbing my feet with a sponge, I noticed the sponge she was using on me had been sitting against a gauze with a "pea" size blood stain (looked fresh) in a plastic tub.  Because I have a couple of broken skin on my feet, I became very worried that I might catch HIV or some sort of STDs.  And also I did not smell any alcohol or chemicals used on my feet, it made me more worried.  Please help me as I am so frustrated with myself.
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helpline-volunteer
Hi there!

Thank you so much for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of acquiring HIV from having a sponge appearing to have blood on it coming into contact with your foot. The scenario above is considered to be No Risk


The scenario above also does not meet the three components of the transmission equation (see below).  In order for transmission to occur, a number of requirements must be met.

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HIV transmission requires the presence of HIV positive fluid (such as semen, vaginal fluid, pre-cum, rectal fluid, breastmilk, etc), coupled with a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity, that provides the virus with direct access to the bloodstream. 

Even if there had been fluid containing HIV positive particles on the sponge, the HIV particles would be inactivated as exposure of the virus to oxygen quickly deactivates it. The CDC has shown that "HIV does not survive long outside the body (such on surfaces), and it cannot reproduce outside of the human host" (1). When HIV is exposed to oxygen, it undergoes a rapid decrease in concentration (90-99% within a couple of hours), so the risk of environmental transmission of HIV is essentially zero (1). In addition, 
in this situation, there was no direct access to the bloodstream or activity making this event No Risk



Recommendation: No need for an HIV test with the scenario provided, please refer to a healthcare professional for other health-related questions.

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, 


Sonali

1. HIV in the environment  



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