Anonymous
I am a medical student. I currently have superficial grazes on my knuckles. I suspect this is due to eczema and isn't helped by disinfecting alcohol I use.
I did a brief examination on an HIV + IV heroin user today. This included basic actions like shaking hands and taking blood pressure. I did not wear gloves.
My only real concern is if the person had blood or open wounds on his hands... which I have no proof of. I would appreciate an objective view on my transmission risk.
Thank you.
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Anonymous
Hi there and thank you for contacting AIDS Vancouver, we are happy to help.

It sounds like you are concerned about a brief encounter that you had with a patient who had HIV and are worried about the risk of transmission.

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
In the encounters that you described, there was no direct access to the bloodstream and no body fluids involved, therefore there is NO RISK for HIV transmission. You mentioned that you were concerned about open wounds potentially being present, however unless the wound is serious enough to require immediate medical attention (eg. stitches), it is considered a superficial wound that is NOT a direct access to the bloodstream.

If you have any other questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at the AV helpline.

Monday to Friday 9am-4pm (PST)

604-253-0566 ext. 299

Your call is always private and confidential

Sincerely,

Raveena (volunteer)
AIDS Vancouver


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= RISK OF HIV TRANSMISSION