Anonymous
Hi as I was taking a shower today my roommates razed fell from our shower side stand and gave me small cut. it actually took of some skin but it was very small. the razor looked rusty so I couldn't recognize any blood on it even if there was. I would say at least 24 hours had passed after she used it last and this accident. am I at risk? should I take PEP?
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Anonymous
Hi there,

Thanks for contacting AIDS Vancouver for HIV/AIDS-related information.

The short answer is no. You did not place yourself at risk and I would not recommend PEP. Let me explain why:

For HIV transmission risk to occur, body fluids of a person living with HIV (i.e. blood, semen, vaginal fluid) need direct access to your bloodstream through an activity like unprotected anal/vaginal sex or sharing injection needles.

Let me explain why your situation did not place you at risk, beyond the fact that you did not describe an event where sex or injection occurred:

1) HIV needs a controlled environment to live, such as inside the body. Outside the body, it is weak and dies within 60 seconds of exposure to oxygen. Enough time had passed that even if your roommate's blood was on the razor (and assuming they were HIV-positive), the HIV in the blood would not be able to survive. This is also why HIV is not transmitted through surfaces.

2) When we are talking about access to the bloodstream, we are talking about either inside the lining of the vagina, rectum or inside the urethra. Although you had a small nick (and even if you bled), it wouldn't be big enough to give access to the bloodstream. Think more in terms of a giant, freshly bleeding wound. Note that as soon as we cut ourselves, our bodies start repairing the skin to prevent bacteria and viruses from entering.

I trust I've answered your questions; however, if you have any more, please don't hesitate to ask.

Best,

Maggie

AIDS Vancouver Volunteer
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