Hello. About a month ago I stopped off to get a beer from a convenient store. The beer was in a open beer cooler with ice poured all on top of it. I work outside to make a living, so my hands are always rough and cracked. I reached in to grab a beer and had a fresh non bleeding crack on my thumb. It was open, but not too deep. My thumb hit some ice when I reached to grab a beer. My question is, could I be at risk for hiv from reaching in and the ice hitting my freshly cracked thumb? What if someone before me had bleeding hands and reached in to get a beer a few minutes before I got there? I will admit I didn’t see any blood, but who’s to say there wasn’t a small amount on the ice that my thumb hit. It did hurt, so that’s why I noticed. Please help me. My anxiety is through the roof over this. It has taken the joy out of my life. I have been faithfully married to my wife for over 22 years and don’t do any kind of drugs. Tired of this incident stealing the happiness from my life because it’s all I can think about. What if I’m the one who gets infected this way? What do I do? Thanks in advance for your time and effort to answer my question.

Hi there,

Thank you for your inquiry. From what we gather from the question, you were asking about the possibility of HIV transmission through a cut on your hand coming into contact with ice that could potentially have had another individual's bodily fluid (i.e., blood) on it. 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 HIV Transmission Equation (see below). HIV (contained in a body fluid such as blood) is extremely sensitive to the outer environment. Exposure to oxygen in an environment outside of the body causes HIV to undergo a rapid reduction in concentration (1). From the CDC, HIV that may be contained in a bodily fluid (in this case being any blood that was on the ice), has a rapid (within several hours) reduction in concentration of 90-99% (1), rendering it inactive. Furthermore, this situation does not meet the requirements for the HIV Transmission Equation (see image below), as the graze on your finger would not have permitted sufficient access to your bloodstream through a High, Low, or Negligible Risk activity.  

Therefore, in the event that the ice was contaminated with HIV positive bodily fluid, the exposure to oxygen, coupled with the fact that there was no direct access to the bloodstream, means that there is No Risk of transmission from this activity. 

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

Best regards,
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Shirley 

If you are satisfied with the Helpline service, please consider donating.
Helpline Transmission Equation  (1).jpg
Additional Resources: 
(1) HIV Environmental Exposure



Charitable Registration #
10668 9896 RR0001

© 2019
Privacy Policy


1101 Seymour Street
Suite 235, 2nd Floor
Vancouver, BC V6B 0R1


Main Phone: 604-893-2201
Fax: 604-893-2205