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What defines comprimised skin integrity?
May 10, 1999

Hi Doctor, Can you tell me what defines comprimised skin integrity besides open sores and abrasions? I have read in some sources that dermatitus is considered comprimised skin integrity. We had a situation in our hospital where a small amount amount of semen from an HIV+ patient came into contact with a nurses arm. The area had no obvious abrasions but had a few small pimple-like bumps with no bleeding. I hesitate to call it acne because the pimples were very miniscule and could only be noticed upon close inspection. Based on what I described (I hope I have been clear enough) would this area of skin be considered comprimised and an entry point for HIV into the bloodstream? Or would the dermatitus being discussed in the exposure guidlines be more severe than what I described? Thank you very much for your time. You are doing an excellent and very admirable job!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

From your description, I would say no. Compromised integrity is more a gestalt thing, in that there are no studies to determine what is truly a breach and what is not. Usually the descriptions are open wounds, cuts, dry chaffed or cracked skin. MH



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