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Can HIV and HCV pass thru a welt in the skin?
May 15, 2011

Dear Dr McGovern, Thank you for answering my previous post (About the girl who scratched me and got her blood on my scratched skin). I wanted to send a final follow-up question but did not know how to, so will just ask it here. After studying for the correct skin terminology, I came to learn that the scratches that this girl made on my arm can also be referred to as welts (A welt can be a red bump, ridge or swelling of unbroken skin). Even though the skin is red, it is still unbroken (ie not actively bleeding), and thus there is no danger when infected blood contacts it? The scratches on my arm looked like scratches made by a friendly dog who scratched someone in excitement. I could not see any blood or swelling to the naked eye but am really concerned if HIV or HCV could get thru. Do these viruses really pass from one person to the next so easily? Thanks again.

Response from Dr. McGovern

My answer would still stand for the description of a welt.



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