Hi, I suffer from OCD in relation to catching HIV which I receive therapy for, which is improving my condition gradually. I have a small surface graze on my forehead, it is from a spot that I picked, it is around 3 days old, not bleeding, starting to heal. Someone I know who I was having a chat to yesterday commented on my short hair and put their hand on my head to touch my hair. I can’t remember if they touched my small surface graze on my forehead or not, but I didn’t notice any blood on my head after they had touched it or on their hand, and they only touched my head/hair for a few seconds. I think I can rationalize this and know that their is no risk of HIV transmission from this scenario- am I right in saying this? Many people can’t understand why I think this way and find it strange.
Hi there,

Thank you for your question. To begin with, we commend you for getting the help you need in regards to your OCD around HIV transmission and we are happy to hear that you are benefiting from the therapy. From what we gather from your question, you are asking about the possibility of HIV transmission after someone touched your forehead wound with their hand.

As per your rationalization, there is No Risk of HIV transmission from this scenario.

Transmission is considered to be of No Risk for the following reasons:

As you might already know, HIV reduces in concentration rapidly after being exposed to air (1). This greatly reduces the risk of transmission occurring. From the scenario you describe, it does not appear that the individual who came into contact with your forehead had any bodily fluids on the hand that touched you. This nullifies the risk of any transmission since a bodily fluid is required in order for there to be a chance that HIV transmission will occur (see Transmission Equation below). Furthermore, in the scenario you described your cut as "around 3 days old, not bleeding, starting to heal." In order for HIV to be transmitted it needs direct access to the bloodstream meaning in this scenario you would need an open, actively bleeding wound or sore on your forehead, which you did not have. This further solidifies that there is No Risk of transmission in this scenario. 

We hope this answer eases any uncertainty you might have had previously. There is a great amount of stigma associated with mental health conditions even today and we hope that as people get more educated and familiar on mental health awareness, there will also be a decrease in the amount of stigma and increase in understanding about mental health conditions and how they affect individuals differently.

Please refer to our HIV Transmission Equation below for more information:


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

(1) HIV and oxygen

Thank you
AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online, Shawn

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