Anonymous
Hi when I was walking up the stairs barefoot in my apartment building, I felt a sharp poke in one of my toes. There was little to no blood that came out of the puncture wound. I assume it was a staple in the carpet, however if someone  with HIV had cut themselves before, am I at risk for catching HIV. Also another question, since the staple was embedded into the carpet, it doesn't have much exposure with oxygen, if someone had cut themselves before adding the carpet on top, am I at risk for contracting HIV?
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helpline-volunteer

Hello,


Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the risk of HIV transmission from a small puncture wound. From the information given, this scenario is determined to be No Risk (transmission of HIV is not possible in the given scenario).

The scenario mentioned above does not meet the three components of the transmission equation (pictured below). The fluid explained in the scenario above would not contain any active HIV, and a small puncture wound would not be a sufficient enough portal for HIV to enter into your bloodstream.
Helpline Transmission Equation .jpgIn order for HIV to be transmitted an HIV positive fluid must have direct access to your bloodstream. Theoretically, if someone had previously cut themselves with the same staple the foreign blood remaining would not contain any active HIV. This is because exposure of the virus to oxygen quickly deactivates the virus. The CDC has shown that HIV does not survive long outside the body, 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 (2). A staple that was embedded in the carpet would still be exposed to some oxygen, and therefore it is No Risk of transmission.

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

Regards,

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Rashell

 

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References:
1.) HIV Transmission Basics
2.) Survival of HIV in the Environment

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